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Tripura's Tryst With Violence Comes To An End
After years of violence and militancy in Tripura, the NLFT finally surrendered early last month.
Shilajit Kar Bhowmik

The National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) led by Sabir Debbarma signed the Memorandum of Statement (MoS) on August 10, 2019 with the State and Central Government for joining the mainstream and eschewing violence.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in a press release stated, ‘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. NLFT has been responsible for violent activities including 317 insurgency incidents in which 28 security forces and 62 civilians lost their lives during the period 2005-2015. Peace talks with NLFT were initiated in 2015 and there has been no violence by NLFT since 2016. NLFT (SD) has agreed to abjure the path of violence, join the mainstream and abide by the Constitution of India. It has agreed to the surrender of its 88 cadres with their weapons. The surrendered cadres will be given surrender benefits as per the Surrender-cum-Rehabilitation Scheme, 2018 of the Ministry of Home Affairs.’

Three days later, on 13 August, 2019, the militant outfit officially surrendered in the presence of Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb. Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Debbarman was present as well.

Addressing the event, the Chief Minister urged the surrendered rebels to join the development process initiated by the State government with special thrust on education, health and infrastructure. ‘The rebels understood that they were pursuing the wrong path and have joined the mainstream. We expect all cooperation from them for welfare measures undertaken,’ said Biplab Deb.

Festivity and Fear

Clearly, peace and harmony have made a comeback in Tripura after a long sabbatical. However, in bygone days, Tripura was a welter of violence and extremism. Outfits like the Tripura National Volunteers (TNV), National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) created fear and panic among the minds of the hoi polloi. Gruesome acts like murder, extortion and abduction were common.

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September 2019