Assam rebel group exits camps to sign peace accord

Assam rebel group exits Myanmar camps to sign peace accord

Weapons deposited by NDFB (S) on Sunday. DH photo

The National Democratic Front of Bodoland (S), a militant group held responsible for the massacre of 84 Adivasis in 2014 in Assam, is likely to join peace talks, sign "a comprehensive" accord with other factions and join the mainstream soon.

Security officials said that at least 50 rebels of the militant group including its top leaders Saoraigora and G Bidai left their camps in Myanmar and crossed the borders in Manipur and Nagaland on Sunday.

The group deposited their weapons to security forces and is now staying in a guest house provided by the security forces.

Three top leaders are likely to visit New Delhi soon and meet senior officials of Union Home Ministry to finalise the agreement to be signed soon.

Formed in 1986 with a demand for a sovereign state for the Bodo community, the outfit was later divided into different factions.

Three other factions are already in a ceasefire and are engaged in peace talks for years but the home ministry was reluctant to sign a treaty till the faction led by Saoraigwra joined the process.

"This is a very significant step towards establishing permanent peace in Assam, particularly in areas under Bodoland Territorial Council. We just hope the Bodo youths who took up arms join the mainstream and the development process. They will soon lay down their arms officially and join the talks," a security official said.

The MHA had ordered an all-out operation against NDFB (S) after it had allegedly gunned down 84 Adivasis including women and children in December 2014 mainly in Kokrajhar and Sonitpur district.

More than 500 cadres and linkmen were arrested and over 60 killed so far till the outfit showed a willingness to lay down arms and join the peace talks.

Home minister Amit Shah in November last year said here that the Centre was willing to talk to all groups laying down arms but those refusing to do so would be dealt with sternly.

Sources said that the outfit agreed to join the peace process after Hagrama Mohilary, a former militant leader-turned politician talked and persuaded them.

Mohilary, who led Bodo Liberation Tigers, another similar militant group had laid down arms, signed the Bodo Accord in 2003, contested election of Bodoland Territorial Council, an autonomous council under Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and became its chief executive member.

Mohilary's party Bodoland People's Front is now an ally of the BJP-led government in Assam.

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