In one of the biggest surrenders by militants in Assam, altogether 644 cadres of eight insurgent outfits formally laid down their arms yesterday.
The members of the outfits, including United Liberation Front of Asom (I), National Democratic Front of Bodoland and National Liberation of Bengali among others, joined the mainstream in front of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal at a programme here.
Speaking on the occasion, Sonowal said “People are happy that you have returned to the mainstream for the development of Assam. You have inspired all those who believe in democracy. I appeal to people still outside (the mainstream) to come forward and work for making India a strong country.”
He said the government will help rehabilitation of the surrendered extremists who can avail the benefits of existing government schemes for their sustenance.
The highest number of 301 militants who surrendered belonged to the National Liberation Front of Bengali (NLFB), followed by 178 from Adivashi Dragon Fighter (ADF) and 87 from the National Santhal Liberation Army (NSLA).
The others who surrendered included 50 cadres of the United Liberation Front of Assam -Independence (ULFA-I), 8 militants of NDFB, 6 of Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), 13 members of Rava National Liberation Front (RNLF) and one Communist Party of India (Maoist) militant.
Besides 177 arms, the militants also laid down 58 magazines, 1.93 kg explosives, 52 grenades, 71 bombs, three rocket launchers, 306 detonators, two RT sets and 17 khukris.
Inspector General of Police (Special Branch) Hiren Chandra Nath said the surrendered militants came to a unilateral ceasefire between 2015 and 2019.
“Today they formally laid down arms in an official function in front of the chief minister. These groups are not related to NDFB(S) militants, who declared ceasefire earlier this month,” he said.
“This is an important day for the state and the Assam Police. Altogether 644 cadres and leaders of eight militant groups laid down their arms. This is one of the largest surrender of militants in recent history,” Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta told reporters.