The United Liberation Front of Asom - Independent (ULFA-I) on Saturday announced a unilateral ceasefire for three months with immediate effect. The Paresh Baruah-led insurgent group said it took the decision due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Assam.
"During the Covid-19, crisis time, we have decided for unilateral ceasefire for three months from every activity which will be effect from May 15, 2021 (Saturday). We want to inform the indigenous people of Assam that for three months our every activity will be stopped," ULFA-I said in a press statement.
Assam currently has a caseload of 3.15 lakh. Nearly 2,000 people have died in the state due to the disease.
This is the second time the banned outfit has announced a unilateral ceasefire; the first time was in 2006.
The decision came days after Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma appealed to Mr Baruah to come forward for peace talks.
"I request Paresh Barua to come to the discussion table and resolve issues. Kidnappings and killings complicate problems, not solve them. I hope we will be able to make the underground insurgents return to the mainstream in the next five years," said Mr Sarma hours after taking charge as Chief Minister.
ULFA-I had been involved in violence that has led to several deaths in the past. On Friday alone, two persons were killed and two injured in a grenade blast allegedly carried by it in Tinsukia district.
In 2011, another faction of the outfit, under Arabinda Rajkhowa, had announced a unilateral ceasefire for political negotiation but the move was opposed by Mr Baruah.
ULFA was formed in 1979 and has been carrying out insurgency in Assam ever since.