Over 1,600 NDFB ultras lay down arms in Assam
NDFB leader B Saoraigra surrendering his arms before Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma during a programme where over 1,600 members of all four factions of the separatist NDFB laid down arms, in Guwahati on January 30, 2020. IANS

Over 1,600 NDFB ultras lay down arms in Assam

Guwahati, January 30, 2020

More than 1,600 militants of various factions of the separatist National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) laid down arms before Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal here on Thursday.

State Finance Minister and Convenor of North-East Democratic Alliance Himanta Biswa Sarma and top police officers were present at the programme held at Guwahati Medical College Hospital auditorium here.

One by one, the NDFB leaders and cadres handed over their arms to Sonowal and Biswa Sarma, thus formally renouncing violence.

The arms surrender came two days after the Centre and the Assam government inked a peace agreement with representatives of Bodo organisations, attempting to put an end to the decades-old Bodo insurgency based on the demand for carving out a separate state out of Assam.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah had announced the surrender plan of the Bodo militants while briefing mediapersons about the accord.

Altogether 1,615 cadres of the three NDFB factions -- NDFB (Progressive), NDFB (Ranjan Daimary) and NDFB (Songbijit) deposited 178 arms and 4,893 pieces of ammunition at Thursday's ceremony. The ammunition included 14 grenades.

Welcoming the surrendered militants to the mainstream, Sonowal said he has received congratulatory messages from various countries, including Assamese people residing abroad, after the historic accord.

"Our government is committed to implementing every scheme and policy under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah envisaged in the accord and which will ensure a life of dignity for each and every NDFB cadre. My congratulations to all of you for taking such a bold decision. If everybody in Assam works together, the state will surely make a mark in the world," he said.

State director general of police (DGP) Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, and Bodoland Territorial Council chief Hagrama Mohilary were among those present.

Monday's tripartite agreement provides for the economic and political development of Bodos without affecting the territorial integrity of Assam.

The accord is the third Bodo peace agreement to be signed since 1993. The demand for a separate Bodoland is almost five decades old.

It is the second major surrender ceremony of ultras in the state in a week.

On January 23, 644 terrorists representing eight banned outfits of Assam had laid down arms here in Sonowal's presence.

The insurgents were from eight proscribed groups -AULFA (I), NDFB, RNLF, KLO, CPI (Maoist), NSLA, ADF and NLFB.

IANS

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