nlft
Latest handout photo of NLFT cadres somewhere among Indo-Bangladesh border.

The Indian government has signed a memorandum of settlement with a faction of the separatist National Liberation Front of Twipra (NLFT).

On Saturday, the faction led by Shabbir Debbarma alias Major Yamrock agreed to lay down arms and join the mainstream.

According to a Home Ministry statement, the tripartite Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) was signed here by the governments of India and Tripura, and the National Liberation Front of Twipra led by Shabbir Kumar Debbarma (NLFT-SD).

The NLFT-SD has agreed to abjure the path of violence, join the mainstream and abide by the Constitution of India, it said. The group has agreed to the surrender of its 88 cadres with their weapons.

The surrendered cadres will be given benefits under the Surrender-cum-Rehabilitation Scheme, 2018 of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The Tripura government will help the surrendered cadres in housing, recruitment and education, the statement said.

Also Read – Tripura: NLFT satisfied over tripartite dialogue, desires permanent solution

The central government will consider the proposals of the Tripura government regarding economic development of tribal areas of the state.

The NLFT has been banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act since 1997 and has been involved in violence, operating from their camps across the international border.

The NLFT has been responsible for violent activities, including 317 insurgency related incidents, in which 28 security forces personnel and 62 civilians lost their lives between 2005 and 2015.

Peace talks with NLFT were initiated in 2015 and there has been no violence by NLFT since 2016.

The MoM was signed by Satyendra Garg, Joint Secretary (Northeast) of Ministry of Home Affairs; Kumar Alok, Additonal Chief Secretary (Home), Tripura; and Shabbir Kumar Debbarma and Kajal Debbarma of NLFT-SD.

Also Read – Three NLFT (BM) militants decamp from Bangladesh camp; surrender in Tripura

Later, the NLFT representatives called on Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Factions of NLFT led by top leaders Mantu Koloi and Kamini Debbarma had surrendered to the left front government in Tripura led by Manik Sarkar. Shabbir and Kajal are mid-ranking leaders.

Though central agencies and state police special branch were negotiating with the NLFT leadership, it is not clear why the senior leaders of the group led by chairperson Biswa Mohan Debbarma alias D Baithang have not become part of the deal.

Some insiders say when Baithang did not find the deal agreeable, he decided to stay away but a small group of fighters led by Shabbir decided to sign the pact with the Centre.

NLFT was formed in 1992 by Dhananjoy Reang, a former vice president of the erstwhile Tribal National Volunteers (TNV), which had surrendered in 1988.

Reang later surrendered but complains that the state government has not done enough to rehabilitate the surrendered rebels.

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