ULFA (I) annouces 3-month ceasefire due to COVID;CM says it will create congenial environment for peace

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(Adding CM comments) Guwahati/Tinsukia, May 15 (PTI) The banned United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) on Saturday announced a unilateral ceasefire for three months due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation in Assam.

Responding to the ceasefire announced by proscribed ULFA (I), Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said it will create a congenial atmosphere for peace in the state.

The insurgent group's Commander-in-Chief Paresh Barua in a statement e-mailed to the media said that the ceasefire will come into effect immediately and the outfit will refrain from any operations during this three-month period.

'We have taken a decision to suspend all operations for the next three months as the people are facing immense difficulties and suffering due to the pandemic', he said.

Stating that both the state government and the insurgent group have the responsibility of forging a conducive environment for peace, Sarma while talking to reporters in Tinsukia said the government will take proactive steps in initiating peace in the state.

The chief minister also said that at a time when the state is waging a war against COVID-19, he had sought cooperation from everybody to maintain peace and tranquillity in the state.

Fuelled by the second wave, Assam currently has a caseload of 3.19 lakh. A total of 2060 people have died of COVID.

The state has 41,978 active cases at present.

Barua denied the outfit's involvement in the grenade blast at Tingrai Friday which claimed the lives of one person and injured two others.

'It is unfortunate that during such difficult times faced by the people in the state, a section of security forces are trying to malign the outfit', he alleged.

One person was killed and two others injured when two motorcycle borne persons lobbed a grenade in front of a hardware store on Friday at Tingrai under Digboi police station of Tinsukia district.

Three employees of the ONGC were on April 21 kidnapped by suspected ULFA-I militants from its Lakwa oilfield in Assam's Sivasagar district along the Assam-Nagaland border.

Two were freed later, while one is still missing.

Before this the insurgent group had kidnapped two employees of a Delhi-based oil exploration firm, but released both of them later. PTI DG ESB SNS SNS

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