Assam insurgents brace up for ‘new life’

Assam insurgents brace up for ‘new life’

B. Binai and B. Ansuli, two women cadres of NDFB, an insurgent group in Assam, in Guwahati on January 30. (Credit: DH Photo)

Forty-year-old Sanjoy Brahma and his wife Semali are expecting their first baby in April. A resident of Dotma in western Assam’s Kokrajhar district got married in 2018.

“It was a late marriage. But we had no option. We were busy in the jungles of Bhutan when youths of our age got married. Even if we came overground in 2014, I was reluctant to get married before a final decision was taken about our movement,” Brahma, a cadre of Ranjan Daimary faction of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), a militant group told DH on January 30.

Like Sanjoy, 300 cadres of the group laid down their arms before Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal here as part of the new accord the government signed with Bodo groups including all four factions of NDFB on January 27. A total of 1,615 cadres of the NDFB, which launched an armed movement for “sovereign Bodoland” in 1986, officially surrendered and decided to give up arms and start life afresh.

“I want to take a loan to do small business. Some other cadres, who laid down their arms earlier are now doing business. I also want to lead a normal life like them,” Brahma said.

The Bodo Accord promised proper rehabilitation of the cadres through skill development programmes and even recruit those not having heinous cases in security forces. D Binai, a woman cadre of NDFB left her Kerimari village in Sonitpur district in 2008 and joined the armed movement. A mother of a three-year-old daughter now, Binai is trained to use the AK47 rifle and semi-automatic weapons. She spent years in their hideouts in Bangladesh before coming overground in 2014.

“Since it promised to address the cause for which we had taken up arms, we just hope the accord brings our normal life back,” said Binai, as she sat with another woman cadre, B. Ansuli. Both left studies to join the rebel group.  Similarly, another 644 cadres of eight militant groups also laid down arms on January 23 before Sonowal.

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