Ahead of the Assam Assembly elections, some former leaders and cadres of erstwhile terrorist outfit National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) have returned to the jungle and floated a group in a bid to resume the “armed movement”, police, intelligence and other reports said.
Various central and state security forces have stepped up their vigil in western Assam after the inputs received about the formation of the new terror outfit.
Police officials said that the new group, named the National Liberation Front of Boroland (NLFB), is headed by M.D. Batha, who had surrendered along with over 1,600 extremists who joined the mainstream by laying down weapons in January last year after the Centre had signed the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) accord with four NDFB factions and the All Bodo Students’ Union.
In a video statement released to the media, the NLFB said the Centre and Assam governments are not serious and sincere in solving the Bodo issue and the “situation compelled them to continue with the struggle and fight for rights”.
The NLFB also criticised the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Senior police and intelligence officials also said that some surrendered militants, who returned to the jungle to form the NLFB, might try to operate from the neighbouring countries.
Additional Director General of Police, BTR, L.R. Bishnoi told the media that the new groups might be having 25-30 cadres comprising former militants and overground workers.
“NLFB has procured some arms and ammunition. Outfit leader Batha went underground a few months after surrendering last year,” he said.
The opposition Congress doubted the BJP’s sincerity in solving the insurgency problem in Assam.
Congress spokesperson Bobbeeta Sharma said that formation of a new militant group is very unfortunate and it speaks volumes about the kind of sincerity of the BJP in keeping up the process of lasting peace in Assam.
“During Congress government led by Chief Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, 14,000 militants belonging to 13 militant outfits had surrendered and joined the mainstream. The Union Home Ministry has not continued the process to pursue the militants to come to the mainstream. An interlocutor must be appointed to pursue the process of dialogue with the extremists after the expiry of the term of the former interlocutor A.B. Mathur,” she said.
Both the Congress and the incumbent BJP took steps to restore peace in Assam by negotiating with the militant outfits and in the election rallies, leaders of both the parties are seeking to take credit for it.