GUWAHATI, June 11: Some of Assam’s 13 militant groups currently in suspension of operation with the Centre now feel that with the BJP-led NDA at the Centre, peace talks are losing momentum and solutions to the issues raised by them are nowhere in sight.
The oldest among the 13 groups is the NDFB(P) that claims to have 1,156 members against the official cadre strength of 836. The government has been providing stipend to these officially declared 836 militants, not to the remaining ones despite demand by the group. The 13 pro-talk groups together form a 3,764-strong non-state force
Talking to The Sentinel, NDFB(P) general secretary Gobinda Basumatary said: “We entered into the suspension of operation agreement with the Centre with a positive mindset. However, 13 years have already elapsed, but there is nothing tangible at hand even today. When the UPA was in power at the Centre, at least there were frequent talks. However, after the NDA came to power, there has been a decrease in the frequency of talks. The interval between rounds of talks is getting wider gradually.
Ever since the NDA government came to power at the Centre, it has had only two rounds of talks with us. That’s not done. We doubt the goodwill of the government towards peace talks. Ever since entering into the suspension of operation with the government, we have had 16 rounds of tripartite talks with the government and 28 rounds with interlocutors. However, the solution is seen nowhere near.”
The 21-point charter of demands of the NDFB(P) also includes demand for a separate State of Bodoland and making tribal blocks and belts free from encroachers.
Not only the NDFB-P, some Adivasi militant groups too are not happy with the government at the Centre on the way the latter is taking the peace process forward.
The 13 rebel groups in suspension of operation with the Centre are NDFB(P), NDFB-R, KLNLF, ULFA (pro-talk), Adivasi Cobra Military of Assam, Bircha Munda Force, Revolutionary Government of Kukigram/Kuki Revolutionay Army, United Kukigram Defense Army, Kuki Liberation Organization/Kuki Liberal Army, Hmar People’s Convention (Democratic), Adivasi People’s Army, All Adivasi National Liberation Army, and the Santhal Tigers Force.