Assam: Over 600 militants lay down arms

Abhishek Saha
Assam, Assam miliants surrender, 600 militants surrebder, assam militant groups, asssm militants, Indian express

Sonowal said building a terrorism-free Assam was one of the main commitments of his government and urged the surrendered militants to “dedicate themselves to the nation building process and utilise their potential to bring positive transformation in the society”.

Over 600 cadres of eight militant groups in Assam, who had surrendered over the last few years, ceremonially laid down their arms in Guwahati on Thursday — a development the government has projected as a major step towards long-lasting peace in the region.

“Today 644 cadres of eight militant organisations who surrendered and came to unilateral ceasefire in 2019 and prior to that have formally laid down arms in a ceremony in the presence of the Chief Minister of Assam, Chief Secretary of Assam, DGP Assam, GOC 4 Corp and other senior officers in Guwahati,” an Assam Police spokesperson said in a statement.

“Those youths who strayed into terrorism and extremist activities must be given an opportunity to come back to the mainstream society and rebuild their lives. I welcome all members of extremist groups who have laid down their arms today to lead a normal life again and contribute meaningfully to the nation building process through hard work and dedication. It will inspire other such militant organisation members to come back to mainstream society,” Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said.

The eight militant outfits whose cadre surrendered are the United Liberation Front of Assam- Independent (ULFA-I), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), Rabha National Liberation Front (RNLF), Communist Party of India (Maoist), National Santhal Liberation Army (NSLA), Adivasi Dragon Fighter (ADF) and the National Liberation Front of Bengalis (NLFB).

According to police data, there were 50 cadres of ULFA-I, eight of NDFB, six of KLO, 13 of RNLF, one of CPI-Maoist, 87 of NSLA, 178 of ADF and 301 of NLFB.

Sonowal said building a terrorism-free Assam was one of the main commitments of his government and urged the surrendered militants to “dedicate themselves to the nation building process and utilise their potential to bring positive transformation in the society”. A senior police officer of the Special Branch told The Indian Express, “Militants surrender in a phase-wise manner and not enmasse. It takes time for the full process to complete and formally give up arms. Over 600 people with over 170 arms coming back to the mainstream is a big development.”