Militant group in Tripura lays down arms

End of armed revolution

The group led by its leader Sabir Kumar Debabarma deposited their weapons before Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb at a function held at Ambassa in Dhalai district.

Tripura took a step further ahead for becoming a peaceful state with 88 cadres of a faction belonging to National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), a banned militant group laying down their weapons on Tuesday.

The surrender comes three days after it signed a memorandum of settlement (MoS) with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and Tripura government. 

The group led by its leader Sabir Kumar Debabarma deposited their weapons before Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb at a function held at Ambassa in Dhalai district.

"Today's surrender of 88 militants proves that the path they had adopted long ago was not the right one. Now, the time has come for other misguided youths to join hands to speed up development to make Tripura a peaceful and a shrestha (best) state," Deb said after welcoming the surrendered militants.

NLFT was formed in 1989 to fight for an "independent Tripura land" for the indigenous Tripuris. The group was banned in 1997 after it resorted to largescale violence, killing security forces and civilians, including from its camps in neighbouring Bangladesh. The outfit was held responsible for 317 violent incidents between 2005 to 2015, in which 28 security forces and 62 civilians died.

The outfit, however, did not resort to any violence after it engaged itself in peace talks in 2015.

As per the MoS signed in New Delhi on Saturday, NLFT cadres would be provided benefits under the Centre's scheme for rehabilitation of former militants in the Northeast. This includes a fixed deposit of Rs 4 lakh, a monthly stipend of Rs 6,000 for each cadre for three years and training in job skills for rehabilitation.

The weapons deposited by the surrendered cadres included three carbines, one mortar, six SLRs, four Chinese rifles, besides others. 

The NLFT faction blamed the Left Front government in the state led by Manik Sarkar for neglecting the tribal-dominated areas in the state. BJP defeated the Left Front government and came to power in 2016. 

After NLFT faction's mass surrender on Tuesday, Tripura government is now left with a few cadres of another faction to fight for complete peace in the state. "The other faction has become very weak after its leaders were arrested in Bangladesh. So the day is not very far when Tripura can claim to be the most peaceful state in the region," a government official said.

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