Over 1,600 cadres of Bodo militant outfit NDFB on Thursday laid down their weapons at an event in Guwahati, days after all factions of the group signed a peace accord with the Centre and the state government. A total of 1,615 cadres, comprising 836 members of NDFB(P), 579 of NDFB (RD) and 200 of NDFB (S) laid down their arms. A total of 178 arms, 4,803 pieces of ammunition, 14 grenades and one two-inch mortar were laid down.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said, “A comprehensive rehabilitation policy would be formulated for providing employment opportunities to the surrendered militants so that they could make meaningful contribution to the nation building process.”
Gobinda Basumatary, chief of one faction of the NDFB and a signatory of the latest agreement, told The Indian Express on the sidelines of the ceremony, “With this accord, the armed militancy in Bodoland will end. I don’t think there will be any more armed groups in Bodo community.”
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Asked about the BJP, he said the agreement will give the party a way to extend its support base in the community. “There are already so many BJP supporters among Bodo people. This agreement will give them a further upper hand,” he added.
Speaking to reporters, Assam cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “We are going to develop a new model of rehabilitation. We are going to engage with NDFB cadres. Our primary concern will be that these cadres, who have now surrendered, should not go back to any anti-social activity because of lack of opportunity. We have to include them into the mainstream and give them opportunities for livelihood.”
Sarma said the model of rehabilitation that will be prepared by the state government will include aspects of psychological treatment, industrial training and may include provisions of getting them jobs in security forces and the scope for productive employment opportunities in agriculture, fishery and horticulture. He added that a certain sum of money — sufficient to guarantee the cadres’ subsistence for the next three years — would also be allotted.
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