Guwahati (Assam), Jan 27: A total of 246 militants of United Gorkha People’s Organisation (UGPO) and Tiwa Liberation Army (TLA) formally surrendered before Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma here on Thursday.
Welcoming the 169 UGPO and 77 TLA insurgents into the mainstream, Sarma said two more Bru-Reang militant outfits in the Barak Valley will lay down arms in February.
Speaking at a formal arms-laying ceremony, the chief minister said that United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) and Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) will then be the only remaining active insurgent groups in the state.
GOA is relentlessly pursuing vision of Hon PM Sri @narendramodi of lasting peace in Assam. Glad that 169 ex members of Gurkha & Tiwa militant groups UGPO & TLA laid down arms today to join the mainstream.
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) January 27, 2022
“Two Bru-Reang groups in the Barak Valley will surrender in the coming days. We will try to complete the process and settle them by February,” he said.
A senior police officer, who is involved in the surrender process of the militants, told PTI that the chief minister referred to the Bru Revolutionary Army Union (BRAU) and United Democratic Liberation Front (UDLF).
The UGPO and TLA militants deposited 277 firearms of various types, 720 cartridges and grenades in front of Sarma.
UGPO was formed in 2007 and was active mainly in Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Biswanath districts, although it also had a presence in Bongaigaon, Kamrup, Tinsukia, Dhemaji, Udalguri and Sonitpur districts.
TLA was established in 2014 and was active in Morigaon, Nagaon and West Karbi Anglong districts, while it had cadres from Kamrup Metropolitan and Karbi Anglong districts as well.
Sarma hoped that ULFA(I) and KLO will also soon join the talks and bring lasting peace to the state.
“The ULFA(I) did not call a bandh on Republic Day. As per reports, the KLO sought public opinion on whether they should join the peace talks. So, we believe that a positive development may come from these two groups also and Assam will have permanent peace that it has been craving for decades,” he said.
The chief minister asserted that the trend of various ethnic communities forming small insurgent outfits has almost ended.
“For example, we solved all the issues of the Gorkha community. So, there is no need for an armed struggle and that is why UGPO has surrendered,” he said.
Sarma also distributed financial grant of Rs 1.5 lakh each to the surrendered cadres of Rava National Liberation Front (RNLF), Adivashi Dragon Fighter (ADF), National Santhal Liberation Army (NSLA), National Liberation Front of Bengali (NLFB) and United People’s Revolutionary Front (UPRF).
These militant groups had laid down arms en masse before the then chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal in 2020.
On Thursday, 28 cadres of RNLF, 61 of ADF, 41 of NSLA, 303 of NLFB and 29 of UPRF were offered financial support to create livelihood opportunities.
Sarma said that the government is aiming to rehabilitate all surrendered militants by May 10 and make them an integral part of the society.
“The surrendered militants must engage in entrepreneurship and agriculture to lead a dignified life and make meaningful contributions to Assam’s progress. They have to utilise the financial grant judiciously for livelihood and generating employment.
“We are embracing the misguided youths, who have returned home, and expect them to utilize their vigour and strength to build a strong Assam,” he said.
Sarma added that the government will felicitate those who become successful in their new lives in generating employment opportunities and helping in the state’s economic progress so that they become examples for others.
(With PTI inputs )