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Dispur-Delhi spar over safe passage to Paresh

GUWAHATI: In a new twist that widens the difference between Delhi and Dispur, the Home ministry has denied any safe passage for Paresh Baruah to help the ULFA boss visit his ailing mother.

The Centre’s clear cut message surfaced after chief minister Tarun Gogoi publicly admitted the safe passage for Paresh Baruah on humanitarian ground.

Sources told Assam Times that a section of Home ministry officials dealing with the North East region are quite unhappy with the chief minister’s announcement without prior approval from the Centre, which, the experts say, is not required.

Talking to a section of media, Union minister of state for Home Kiren Rijiju said that the safe announcement suggests Dispur’s attempt to undermine the national interest.

Notably, Paresh Baruah refused to take the safe passage while his ailing mother also refused to accept Rs 1 lakh as medical assistant.   

Need no advice; says Gogoi

GUWAHATI, SEP 19 (IANS): Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday said his offer that the government might consider it on humanitarian grounds if ULFA leader Paresh Baruah wanted to visit his ailing mother was in keeping with national interest.

The chief minister was reacting to a reported statement by union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju that Gogoi’s offer was “undermining national interests”.

“I know my national interests and I just gave an option to facilitate an ailing mother’s reunion with her son, by keeping national interest on the top,” Gogoi said in a statement.

“I have all along been fighting the anti-national forces and I have succeeded to a great extent in containing these forces. National interest all along has been a priority and utmost importance to me, I don’t want anybody’s advice on it,” he added.

The chief minister however, clarified that he had made a statement that if Baruah wanted to visit his ailing mother, the government might consider it on humanitarian grounds and his gesture should not be construed as a “safe passage” to the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) leader. Baruah’s mother Miliki Baruah is suffering from old-age ailments in Assam’s Dibrugarh district.

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