Updated: June 30, 2021 10:15:00 pm
A ‘confidential report’ of state and central security agencies based on the discussions during the 52nd Directional level Lead Intelligence Agency (LIA) meeting organized by the Border Security Force (BSF) in Agartala on June 15 has revealed that the banned National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) is still operating from the soil of neighboring Bangladesh.
The report, accessed by The Indian Express, said the outfit has two camps at Silchari and Ujjanchari in the Rangamati district of Bangladesh apart from two safe houses at Dhaka and Chittagong, adding that it has been trying to make movements in Tripura once again, especially in the Khowai and Dhalai districts.
The LIA meeting, held after a brief gap due to the COVID-19 pandemic, focused on the insurgency scenario across the international border and activities of outlawed ultras in the state. While sleuths of BSF, SIB, Tripura Police Special Branch, Special Bureau, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, ECIB, FIU and the Customs spoke extensively on security along 856 km of Tripura’s international border with Bangladesh, many of them said NLFT, the only major surviving insurgent outfit from the state, is now suffering from financial crises. A recent meeting of the insurgent leaders in April and May this year has most likely ended with plans of extortion, kidnapping, etc to solve their financial crisis.
NLFT’s activities have ‘significantly reduced’ along the border in the last 6-7 months, though a transit camp at Segunbagan in Bangladesh, 5 km from the border, has become functional from October 2020, the report said. Tripura shares an 856-km-long international border with neighbouring Bangladesh, of which around 67 km area is unfenced.
While the arrest of self-styled NLFT commander Parimal Debbarma in Mizoram on March 13 this year has weakened the outfit, officials of the security agencies have said his faction is recruiting young boys on the condition of money and food.
However, few other security agencies have said that at a meeting of NLFT held in May this year, cadres were told that the outfit has sufficient funds to run smoothly for another 10 years. The outfit was told to have laid stress on recruiting new cadres and ramping up tax collection from bordering villages.
While the report has said most of the outfit’s leaders are in Bangladesh, it added that its camps in Bangladesh are surviving with about 40 members. It also said that a small group of NLFT cadres led by self-styled commander Dilip Debbarma is trying to operate in Khowai district, 50 Km away from Agartala.
“A small group led by Dilip Debbarma has influence in Baramura Ranges, Khowai, Champahour, Mugiakami, Teliamura Police Stations under Khowai District and subsequently, the movement of this group is observed in Ganganagar, Raishyabari, Gandachera and Chawmanu under district Dhalai,” the report stated.
The report also said Biswa Mohan Debbarma, a self-styled leader and advisor of NLFT is probably in Mizoram, Jacob Hrawngkhal, another self-styled commander is learnt to be in Myanmar while self-styled secretary-general of NLFT – Utpal Debbarma, self-styled Finance Secretary Sonadhan Debbarma and self-styled Youth Affairs, Culture, Agriculture Secretary Sachin Debbarma are in Bangladesh.
Since the arrest of Utpal Debbarma in Bangladesh in January earlier this year, one Upendra Reang was put in charge of ‘organizational activities’ as per the confidential report.
The report also has details about different new smuggling routes in the Northeast and has said the current government of Bangladesh has given a tough time to many of the insurgents, as a result of which they are trying to devise new ways of operation.
NLFT was banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in 1997 and has been involved in violence, operating from their camps across the international border. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, it 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 except a few abductions last year.
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