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Government asks rebels to resume peace talks in India's northeast

Government asks rebels to resume peace talks in India's northeast

The Indian government appealed Thursday to separatist rebels in the troubled northeast to stop killings and resume peace talks as it tightened security to avoid any attacks on India's national day.
Police blame the key rebel group, the United Liberation Front of Asom, for the deaths of 75 civilians in a series of shootings and bomb attacks in Assam state this month.
The attacks continued Thursday with three people, including a suspected bomber, being killed in three separate blasts even as nearly 25,000 army, police and paramilitary soldiers fanned out to areas considered vulnerable to rebel violence on Friday, India's Republic Day. The day marks the adoption of the country's Constitution in 1950.
The ULFA has called a 17-hour general strike across the state.
"If the ULFA is really interested in Assam's overall development, it should stop violence and start peace talks. The government is ready to talk peace even today," Assam state's top elected official, Tarun Gogoi, told The Associated Press.
In the first blast a suspected rebel died when a bomb he was carrying exploded accidentally as he was riding a bicycle in the village of Borhapjan, some 550 kilometers (340 miles) east of Gauhati, the state capital, said local government official Absar Hazarika.
Two people were killed when a bomb went off Thursday evening in a market in the town of Rangiya, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Gauhati, said R.N. Mathur, the state police chief. Five others were wounded.
A third blast went off in a Gauhati, but caused no casualties, Mathur said.
The ULFA also has called for a boycott of the Indian National Games, to be held in the state capital next month, in which thousands of athletes are expected to participate.
"We are taking no chances because the ULFA has already killed up to 75 civilians, mostly migrant workers from Bihar state, since January 5 and has called a boycott of both the Republic Day and the upcoming National Games," said Mathur.
The killing of the migrant workers was Assam's worst violence in years and came after Indian authorities called off peace talks and a six-week temporary truce with the ULFA and resumed military offensives against the rebels.
At least 10,000 people in Assam, mostly civilians, have died in fighting between government forces and separatists during the last three decades.
The militants say the central government in New Delhi _ 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) to the west _ exploits the northeast's rich natural resources while ignoring the region's development.


Updated : 2021-06-14 18:11 GMT+08:00