ULFA Dissolves After 44 Years; Arms to be Handed Over This Month
| IOP Desk - 23 Jan 2024

IOP News Desk

Jan 23, 2024: The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), which aimed to establish a sovereign Assam, has disbanded itself after 44 years since its formation.

The decision was made at the outfit's final general meeting in Sipajhar, located 55 km from Guwahati, twenty-five days after ULFA signed a memorandum of settlement with the Centre and the Assam government on December 29.

"We have decided to disband and dissolve the outfit as stated in the settlement signed in Delhi. This will also result in the lifting of sedition charges against the outfit," said ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa.

It is important to note that while ULFA has around 700 members, the anti-talks faction of the outfit, ULFA-Independent (ULFA-I), which has camps in Myanmar and parts of the northeast, opposes any settlement until Assam's sovereignty is discussed.

The settlement, seen by HT, states that "ULFA shall renounce violence, surrender all weapons and disband the armed organization within one month."

The outfit will also have to vacate the 9 designated camps where ULFA members and their families have been staying since 2011. The outfit's leadership has announced that their weapons will be handed over to the state government in a formal ceremony later this month.

The settlement promises a lump sum ex-gratia payment to the members, funding for economic activities, vocational training, and government jobs based on eligibility. It also states that criminal cases against ULFA members for non-heinous crimes will be withdrawn.

"We believe that the issues mentioned in the settlement and the assurances given to us by the Centre and the Assam government will be fulfilled," said Rajkhowa.

He also mentioned that the outfit will refrain from participating in party politics, but individual members are free to join political parties if they wish.

"It's an emotional and sad moment. We gave birth to this outfit, and today, due to circumstances, we are forced to dismantle it. We have all made sacrifices and dedicated a significant amount of our lives to this cause," said Anup Chetia, ULFA general secretary.

In February 2011, ULFA split into two groups: one led by chairman Rajkhowa, which chose to abandon violence and engage in talks with the Centre unconditionally, and another led by Paresh Baruah, which rejected talks and rebranded as ULFA-Independent.

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