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Tuesday, January 30, 2007
ULFA ultimatum to TV channel: Prove charges or leave Assam
The outlawed United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) on Tuesday asked a television channel to leave Assam or face action if it fails to prove its allegations that the outfit is being bribed by the Assam Government to lie low during the coming National Games.

North East Television (NETV), a Guwahati-based television channel, had last week reported that the Assam Government had paid money to buy peace with the ULFA for the smooth conduct of the National Games in Guwahati from February 9 to 18, 2007.

"Let NETV prove to the public about the ULFA taking money from the Assam Government. If it fails to prove the allegation within a month, it will have to leave Assam or else face dire consequences," ULFA `commander-in-chief' Paresh Baruah said in a statement.

The National Games has come under a cloud with ULFA blamed for a wave of violence beginning January 5, 2007, in which 90 people were killed. But the Assam Government has vowed to hold the Games as scheduled.

Meanwhile, over 10 Myanmarese soldiers and three militants were killed in fresh fighting when Myanmar launched a massive military crackdown to evict anti-India guerrillas from its soil.

According to a spokesman of the SS Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K), Myanmar's military junta had burnt down the outfit's general headquarters and two other camps in Myanmar's northern Sagaing Division.

The NSCN-K, which is fighting for an independent homeland for the Nagas in Nagaland, has at least 50 camps with 5,000 guerrilla fighters entrenched in fortified bunkers in the Sagaing Division.

Myanmar's offensive comes a week after India's External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee visited Yangon, capital of Myanmar, and sought the country's help in cracking down on the rebels from India's troubled North-East, who are seeking refuge across the border.

Pranab Mukherjee's visit came after reports from Indian security officials that hundreds of rebels from Assam have fled to Myanmar since New Delhi launched a military operation against the guerrillas earlier in January, 2007.

At least four other militant groups from the North-East, including the ULFA, have training camps in northern Myanmar's thick jungles.

The NSCN's Khaplang faction has been observing a ceasefire with New Delhi since 2001, though peace talks are yet to begin.

Myanmar had earlier pledged that the junta would not let Indian rebels operate from its soil. In 2006, Myanmar had launched a military operation against the NSCN-K and overran several of their bases.

India and Myanmar share a 1,640-kilometre unfenced border, allowing militants from the North-East to use Myanmar as a springboard to carry out their hit-and-run strikes on Indian soldiers.

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