When Arabinda Rajkhowa walks out of prison today, he will become the sixth senior leader of the United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa) to have been recently let out on bail. Two more functionaries may also be released soon. The government hopes these benign gestures will spur peace talks with the banned outfit. But the effectiveness of such moves needs to be questioned.
After decades of conflict, peace and reconciliation in Assam are long overdue. But a peaceful solution to the Ulfa problem has long evaded the country. Even now, with much of the outfit’s power diluted, there is no surety that talks will succeed. This is all the more salient because Ulfa’s hardline chief Paresh Baruah remains absconding and opposed to any peace process.
Rajkhowa’s capture and deportation from Bangladesh took effort and a renewal in our friendly relations with that country. Frittering those away in the hope of an elusive outcome may be bad strategy.