GUWAHATI/HAFLONG: Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that peace and stability are back in Assam and the region, with support and blessings from all stakeholders.
Speaking at the arms laydown by former DNLA militants and the distribution of rehabilitation grants to the surrendered militants at Haflong today, the Chief Minister said, "Making Assam insurgent-free is paramount to ensuring Assam is among the top five states of Bharat. Each of the surrendered cadres received a fixed deposit of Rs 4 lakh."
The Chief Minister said, "Assam ended insurgency in tribal areas in April 2023 when it signed a peace deal with the DNLA in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Today, 181 cadres of the DNLA laid down arms. Since May 2021, nearly 7,200 insurgents have surrendered in Assam, and the number of lives lost in extremist violence stands at zero, a stark contrast to the tragic toll of over 400 lives two decades ago. I welcome those who have abandoned the path of violence and joined the Prime Minister's mission of building a Viksit Bharat."
The Chief Minister credited members of Dimasa civil society groups, intellectuals, and prominent public figures for playing the role of mediators in bringing the DNLA to the negotiating table in 2021. He exuded confidence that the former rebels would make the best use of the financial grant and become financially self-reliant in the days to come.
Stating that a record number of insurgents returned to the mainstream in the past two-and-a-half years of his tenure as Chief Minister, Sarma expressed hope that the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) too would one day drop guns and work towards the growth and development of Assam.
The Chief Minister said that Rs 6,000 crore would be spent to improve road infrastructure in the region. He further added that the profit from limestone mining would be shared with the Dima Hasao Autonomous Council. He also declared that if the Dima Hasao Autonomous Council is able to provide the state government with 100 bighas of land in and around Haflong town, the government will build a medical college there.
The Chief Minister inaugurated a number of developmental and social projects in the Dima Hasao district. These are the Eklavya Model Residential School at Ardaopur, built at a cost of Rs 23 crore; a model degree college at Hatikhali, built at a project cost of Rs 12 crore; a polytechnic institute at Choto Wapoo, built at a cost of Rs 7 crore; and the Centre for Ethnic Community Cultural Practice at Haflong, costing around Rs 10 crore. These apart, he launched a Jal Jeevan Mission project costing Rs 3 crore.
Surrendered cadres, including five females, the 'c-in-c', and the 'deputy c-in-c', have ceremonially laid down arms at N.L. Daulagupu Sports Stadium at Haflong. They deposited altogether 43 arms and a few explosives, including automatic and semi-automatic rifles and a thousand rounds of ammunition.
Against the fixed deposit, a cadre can avail a loan up to Rs. 3.2 lakh.
Meanwhile, Dimasa bodies have urged the government to implement the demands of the DNLA and earlier by both factions of the DHD, as the demands are for the welfare of Dimasa society.
Welcoming the cadres to the mainstream, DGP GP Singh said that militants deposited 1,750 arms in the last two years under the leadership of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, bringing peace and tranquilly back to the state. He claimed that no case of kidnapping or terrorist activity was reported in the last two years. He also requested that the surrendered cadres not be influenced by third forces and refrain from picking up arms at any cost.
NC Hills Autonomous Council CEM Debolal Gorlosa, while appreciating the cadres for coming over ground. He said that the autonomous council is aiming to be among the five top districts in the state.
Ministers Jogen Mohan, Pijush Hazarika, Nandita Gorlosa, and Jayanta Mallabaruah, Chief Executive Member of Dima Hasao Autonomous Council Debolal Gorlosa, Chief Executive Member of Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council Tuliram Ronghang, and Director General of Police G.P. Singh were present.