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Tripura militant outfit NLFT keen to surrender, talks held
Sujit Chakraborty
Tripura militant outfit NLFT keen to surrender, talks held
PHOTO : TIWN File Photo : NLFT-Militant Shantarshi Bishnu Debbarma in Ambassa.

AGARTALA, April 5 (TIWN / IANS) Guerrillas of the outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) are keen to surrender if their demands are met, a top Tripura police official said on Sunday.And in view of this, a preliminary meeting involving officials of the central and Tripura governments and NLFT leaders was held in Shillong on April 2, Director General of Police K. Nagaraj told IANS."The meeting was fruitful and positive," the Tripura police chief said. "Some modalities were worked out at the Shillong meeting." He added: "We hope a tangible shape (of the surrender) would emerge at the next meeting, the date for which will be finalized soon. The NLFT leaders indicated that they will surrender if their demands are met."Nagaraj said the NLFT, led by Biswamohan Debbarma, expressed its willingness to the central government to hold talks a few months back.Nagaraj and Tripura Tribal Welfare Department Secretary L. Darlong, two senior officials of Intelligence Bureau and three NLFT leaders -- Utpal Debbarma, Kajal Debbarma and Karna Debbarma -- took part in the meeting.

The union home ministry sought the state government's view.

The Tripura government gave a positive response.Nagaraj said that though the tribal guerrillas expressed their willingness to come to the mainstream of life, they did not specify their demands.

The NLFT wanted the talks in the Meghalaya capital.

"We have asked them (NLFT leaders) to disclose their expectations, if any, to the government. They said they would discuss the issues among themselves at their hideouts and submit the demands at the next meeting."

According to an official document of Tripura Police, the NLFT was formed in March 1989 under the leadership of Biswamohan Debbarma, with some erstwhile disgruntled surrendered Tripura National Volunteers (TNV). 

The TNV had signed a tri-partite agreement involving the central and state governments and itself in New Delhi in August 1988.

Many NLFT militants have escaped from their camps and hideouts in neighbouring Bangladesh and surrendered to security forces and the Tripura government in recent years.

Members of NLFT and All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) have taken shelter and arms training in Bangladesh, which shares a 856-km border with Tripura.

Both outfits, banned in 1997, advocate secession of Tripura from India. But as most ATTF cadres have surrendered, the group is almost non-existent now.

According to a union home ministry report, the central government currently has a ceasefire agreement with five militant groups in Assam, two in Manipur and all factions of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland.

The central government has a scheme for the surrender and rehabilitation of militants from the northeastern region since 1998.

Under this, a one-time grant of Rs.1.5 lakh, a monthly stipend of Rs.3,500 per militant, and incentives for deposited weapons are given to surrendered extremists.

In 2013-14, a sum of Rs.15.55 crore was released to the northeastern states for payment of stipend to surrendered extremists.

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