NLFT leader Sabir Debbarma (in blue shirt) surrendering in the presence of Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb in Agartala on Tuesday Credit: EastMojo image

Agartala: Three days after National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) signed a memorandum of settlement with the Centre and the state government, 88 members of the banned insurgent group of Tripura laid down their arms in the presence of CM Biplab Kumar Deb on Tuesday.

Taking to Twitter, Deb said: “I welcome the surrendered members of NLFT who have chosen the path of obeying the Constitution of India and abjuring the path of violence for a peaceful living. Gov’t will extend all help to them according to rehabilitation policies for a smoothly living in the mainstream.”

“Today, 88 NLFT cadres surrendered and we hope that they will live a normal life like others and think for the betterment of their families and people of Tripura with cooperation of the government,” Deb later told reporters in Agartala on Tuesday.

Speaking with reporters, Kajal Debbarma, information secretary of NLFT, said, “We were in Bangladesh. More 20 people are left; they are not interested and decided that they will not surrender. I hope they will come soon.”

“We gave up on violence and decided to return to mainstream and walk together for the development of the state and for the indigenous people of the state,” Debbarma added.

In the event, deputy chief minister Jishnu Dev Verma, Tripura East MP Rebati Kumar Tripura, home secretary Kumar Alok and ADG Rajeev Singh were also present.

Earlier, a press release from the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) said that a memorandum of settlement was signed in Agartala by the government of India, government of Tripura and National Liberation Front of Twipra led by Sabir Kumar Debbarma of NLFT-SD.

“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 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,” the press release said.

Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb inspecting the seized weapons

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NLFT was banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in 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.

It’s also mentioned that the government of Tripura will help the surrendered cadres in housing, recruitment, education etc., government of India will consider the proposals of Tripura state government regarding economic development of tribal areas of Tripura.

“The Memorandum of Settlement was signed by Sh. Satyendra Garg, Joint Secretary (North East) of Ministry of Home Affairs, Sh. Kumar Alok, Addl. Chief Secretary (Home) Govt. of Tripura and Sh. Sabir Kumar Debbarma & Sh. Kajal Debbarma of NLFT (SD). Later on the NLFT representatives called on Union Home Minister, Shri Amit Shah at New Delhi after signing the Memorandum of Settlement,” the press release of MHA said.

The memo of settlement was signed by joint secretary NE of MHA, Satyendra Garg, (left) and NLFT leaders Sabir Kumar Debbarma (in blue shirt) and Kajal Debbarma (right)

Earlier, in a letter dated June 22, NLFT president D Yamrok informed Amit Shah of the meeting that took place for peace talks with the Central government before he became the Union home minister. The NLFT leader also mentioned that peace talks started in 2015 with the government of India and till date, five rounds of tripartite talks have already taken place.

A team of ‘Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal’, formed by the Union ministry of home affairs visited Tripura from February 2-4 to record evidence against two outlawed insurgent outfits.

The home ministry had imposed a fresh ban of five years on the NLFT and ATTF on October 3, 2018 for their violent and subversive activities.

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