March 1, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination




THE CONTEXT: The pro-talks faction of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) signed a tripartite peace deal with the Indian government and the Assam government in December 2023.


  • This memorandum of settlement entails various provisions, including renouncing violence, disarming, disbanding armed activities, vacating occupied camps, and participating in democratic processes.
  • The agreement emphasizes Assam’s development with an investment of ₹1.5 lakh crore.
  • It also addresses political demands, boundary disputes, and the representation of indigenous communities in the Assam Assembly.

Formation of ULFA and Its Objectives

  • The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) emerged as a consequence of the Assam Agitation that started in 1979, culminating in the Assam Accord of August 1985.
  • The fear of indigenous communities in Assam being displaced by “illegal immigrants” from Bangladesh sparked this movement.
  • While social organizations and students protested, a faction of radicals including Arabinda Rajkhowa, Anup Chetia, and Paresh Baruah formed the ULFA on April 7, 1979.
  • The group aimed to establish a sovereign Assam and engaged in an armed struggle, undergoing training in countries like Myanmar, China, and Pakistan.

The Journey of Conflict and Insurgency

  • ULFA’s militant activities included abductions and executions, prompting a government response with Operation Bajrang in 1990, leading to the group’s ban. Assam was declared a disturbed area under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
  • Counter-insurgency operations led to the arrest of many ULFA members in the early 1990s.
  • Some ULFA members surrendered in 1992, forming the Surrendered ULFA (SULFA), but allegations surfaced of their involvement in “secret killings.”
  • Meanwhile, ULFA hardliners collaborated with external terror groups and sought refuge in Bangladesh and Bhutan, facing military action in 2003 and 2009, respectively.

Ups and Downs in Peace Initiatives

  • The ULFA vacillated between peace initiatives and renewed violence. It formed a People’s Consultative Group in 2005, signaling a willingness for peace, but later reverted to insurgent activities.
  • In 2009, the Rajkhowa-led faction signed a ceasefire with the Indian government, while the anti-talks faction, led by Paresh Baruah, remained opposed to negotiations, resulting in a split within ULFA.
  • The anti-talks group renamed itself ULFA (Independent) in 2013.

Challenges Ahead

  • Despite the signing of the accord, challenges remain due to the presence of the anti-talks faction led by Paresh Baruah, operating from hideouts in Myanmar’s Sagaing Division.
  • Baruah insists on discussing Assam’s sovereignty, which the government rejects, emphasizing Assam’s commitment to India.
  • The government aims to convince Baruah for negotiations while acknowledging that peace remains incomplete without his group’s participation.


  • The peace pact with the ULFA’s pro-talks faction marks a significant step towards resolving Assam’s prolonged insurgency.
  • However, challenges persist with the presence of the anti-talks faction led by Paresh Baruah.
  • The success of the agreement hinges on the government’s commitment to implementation and its ability to engage with the remaining insurgent faction to achieve lasting peace in Assam.


Spread the Word