AGARTALA: Eighty-eight members of the banned National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), on Tuesday, surrendered to Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, three days after signing a tri-partite agreement in New Delhi with the Centre and the Tripura government.
Accompanied by their 125 family members, NLFT members of the SD faction, led by Sabir Kumar Debbarma, also surrendered arms and ammunition at Ambassa in the Dhalai district, 100 km north of Agartala. The surrendered arms included 3 AK-47 rifles, 6 self-loading rifles, 4 Chinese rifles, 4 carbines, 4 pistols, 1,876 ammunition and other devices, like 16 time devices and 9 wireless sets. Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma was also present at the event.
Addressing the event, the Chief Minister urged them to join the development process initiated by the state government with special thrust on education, health and infrastructure.
"The rebels understood that they were on a wrong path and have joined the mainstream. We expect all cooperation from them for welfare measures undertaken," Deb said. A a tripartite memorandum of settlement (MoS) was signed on August 10 between the Centre, the Tripura government and the NLFT facilitating the surrender. After the signing of MoS, the NLFT representatives also met Home Minister Amit Shah.
According to an official release, the MoS was signed by Union Home Ministry's Joint Secretary (North-East) Satyendra Garg, Tripura government's Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Kumar Alok and Sabir Kumar Debbarma and Kajal Debbarma on behalf of the NLFT.
"The government told the NLFT leaders that surrendered members would be given benefits as per the Surrender-cum-Rehabilitation Scheme, 2018 of the Union Home Ministry," the release said.
The Tripura government would help the surrendered rebels in construction of their houses, recruitment in government jobs and education of their children.
According to the official release, the NLFT was banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act since 1997. The NLFT was involved in 317 violent activities in which 28 security force personnel and 62 civilians were killed in 2005-2015, it said. The peace talks with the NLFT were initiated in 2015 and the group had desisted from any violent activities since 2016. "The NLFT (SD) militants came to Tripura from their Bangladeshi camps earlier this month. They along with their family members are kept in safety in the Dhalai district," a Tripura Home Department official said.
This is the third signing of peace accord with rebels in Tripura in three decades. In 1988, a tripartite agreement was signed with the outlawed Tripura National Volunteers (TNV). In 1993, the state government had signed a bi-partite accord with the All Tripura Tribal Force (ATTF). (IANS)