Debating India


NLFT-Centre announce ceasefire, peace talks soon

Thursday 15 April 2004

New Delhi, Apr 15 (PTI) In a major development that may usher in peace the northeast, the Centre and the tribal militant outfit National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) today decided on a ceasefire with immediate effect for a period of six months and to hold peace parleys in the coming days. The decision came after two factions of the Tripura-based outfit called on Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani here separately and promised to abjure violence and initiate peace talks.

While one faction was led by Nayanbasi Jamatia, the other was led by Montu Koloi, the third NLFT faction led by Bishwamohan is yet to respond to the Centre’s peace overtures. Highly-placed Home Ministry sources told PTI that after the meeting with Advani, the two groups held discussions with top Ministry officials. The left-ruled Tripura government was represented by its Commissioner for Tribal Welfare. At the meeting, an agreement was signed between the Centre, the state government and the NLFT factions to "observe mutual suspension of operations with immediate effect for a period of six months", they said. The three sides also agreed that "peace talks between all concerned parties will follow the suspension of operations". However, no date has yet been fixed for the parleys to begin.

The meeting also decided that the ground rules for suspension of operations and matters relating to rehabilitation of the cadres after their surrender would be worked out in consultation with the Tripura government and the NLFT factions, the sources said. The Deputy Prime Minister, they said, had earlier spoken to Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar in this regard and appreciated the support extended by the state administration in the process, the sources said. The NLFT, which came into existence in 1989, has been responsible for a large number of violent incidents and killings and accounted for the highest number of violent incidents in the northeast in 2001 and 2002. Besides NLFT President Nayanbashi Jamatia, leaders of his faction who participated in the parleys were Ananta Deb Barma, Amulya Deb Barma and Nilen Jamatia. The Montu Koloi faction included D Debbarma, who is the self-styled army chief, Bishnu Prasad Jamatia (self-styled Finance Secretary) and "Captain" Sanjiv Debbarma. The Jamatia and Koloi factions put together account for about 300 cadres and over 125 sophisticated firearms, including AK-series rifles, light machine guns and self- loading rifles, besides a large stockpile of explosives and grenades, according to the Home Ministry.

See online : Outlook India


in Outlook India, TPI, April 15, 2004.

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