August 11, 2019 5:09:10 am
An insurgent group from Tripura on Saturday signed an agreement with the government to “abjure violence” and “join the mainstream”.
The agreement paves the way for surrender of all active cadres of the group.
The insurgent group – National Liberation Front of Twipra led by Sabir Kumar Debbarma (NLFT-SD) – signed a Memorandum of Settlement with the Central and state governments to “abide by the Constitution of India”.
NLFT: Who, what, how?
NLFT emerged in 1989 with the backing of the Baptist Church of Tripura in the aftermath of ethnic riots in the state. It has since then advanced its cause through armed rebellion. The outfit claims to represent the indigenous population, which it maintains has been marginalised by “the subjugation policy of imperialist Hindustani (India)”. Its constitution makes no mention of any specific religion and claims to extend membership to “any person irrespective of caste, sex or creed”. Over the years, due to internal conflict, the group has broken into several factions, NLFT(SD) being one of them.
In a statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs said: “NLFT(SD) has agreed to abjure the path of violence, join the mainstream and abide by the Constitution. It has agreed to the surrender of its 88 cadres with their weapons. The surrendered cadres will be given benefits as per the Surrender-cum-Rehabilitation Scheme, 2018, of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The State Government will help surrendered cadres in housing, recruitment, education etc.”
The Centre, it stated, will consider proposals of the Tripura government on economic development of tribal areas of the state.
The Memorandum of Settlement was signed by MHA Joint Secretary (Northeast) Satyendra Garg; Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Tripura, Kumar Alok; and Sabir Kumar Debbarma and Kajal Debbarma of NLFT(SD).
The NLFT representatives later called on Home Minister Amit Shah at his office in the North Block.
The MHA statement said: “NLFT is banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act since 1997 and has been involved in violence, operating from their camps across the international border. NLFT has been responsible for violent activities including 317 insurgency incidents in which 28 security forces and 62 civilians lost their lives during the period 2005-2015. Peace talks with NLFT were initiated in 2015 and there has been no violence by NLFT since 2016.”
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