Four top commanders of the outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT-BM) laid down their arms before Tripura Police on Thursday. The surrender came hours after three border fencing workers, who were abducted allegedly by the outfit a fortnight ago, returned home.
Holding a press briefing at state police headquarters on Thursday evening, Director General of Police VS Yadav said four of the top ten NLFT-Biswamohan commanders have now laid down arms before the state police. He said according to intelligence reports, the outfit is grappling with depleting cadre strength and financial crisis.
The surrendered commanders are self-styled assistant foreign secretary Rathan Kalai alias Reuben, assistant organising secretary Joy Sadhan Jamatia alias Jara, assistant publicity and information secretary Madhu Ranjan Noatia alias Yafung and deputy chief of army staff Kukila Tripura alias Yarung.
“Four of top ten NLFT commanders have surrendered before us. This is a big setback for the insurgent group. During their field operations, they came to realise that their so-called fight for Tripura’s independence is nothing but a farce and their insurgency has no future. Frustrated by the outfit’s waning strength and influence and wary of Tripura Police, they decided to return to mainstream society,” the DGP said.
During preliminary questioning, the former ultras revealed that 17 NLFT leaders and cadres underwent special training at Manipur’s Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) camp at Tagga in Myanmar, along with members of other insurgent outfits operating in the Northeast.
They laid down two AK-56 rifles, one AK Bayonet, four AK magazines, 119 live rounds of AK ammunition, a wireless handset and 1.5 lakh Kyat (Myanmar currency).
They informed that the outfit is currently headquartered in Bangladesh and is in the grip of a serious financial and organisational crisis. “They are trying very hard to revive the outfit by recruiting more cadres. We apprehended two such recruits from Chawmanu in Dhalai district earlier this month. Many of our unemployed youth are being lured by such outfits with the promise of cash and false, misleading visions,” the DGP said.
He urged the state’s tribal youth not to fall for such outfits and their inducements and focus on government jobs or entrepreneurship instead.
Banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in 1997, the NLFT had perpetrated violence in the state from its bases across the border. It has been responsible for 317 insurgent attacks between 2005 and 2015, which claimed the lives of 28 security force personnel and 62 civilians. Peace talks were initiated in 2015 and there has been no violence by the NLFT since 2016.
Tripura shares an 856 km-long border with Bangladesh, of which about 67 km is unfenced.
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