Former extremists take up arms again in Assam

They call for driving the BJP out of the State, allege government’s indifference to the Bodo issue

They call for driving the BJP out of the State, allege government’s indifference to the Bodo issue

Some leaders of the disbanded National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) have formed a new extremist group to revive the armed movement. They have also called for driving the Bharatiya Janata Party out of Assam.

In a video statement released to the media, the leaders of the National Liberation Front of Boroland (NLFB) said the Centre and the Assam government’s indifference to the Bodo issue made them return to the jungles and take up guns again for their rights.

“The BJP is a big threat to Assam, and you have to eject it from Assam,” the outfit, headed by M.D. Batha, said.

Batha was among 1,615 extremists who laid down their weapons in January 2020, after the Centre signed the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) pact with four factions of the NDFB and the All Bodo Students’ Union.

‘Serious’ development

The police in the BTR confirmed the “serious” development since extremists in the region have easy access to the jungles of adjoining Bhutan.

“We believe they have formed a group with a new name. They may have 25-30 members, but all are not former militants. There might be some overground workers,” Additional Director-General of Police of BTR, L.R. Bishnoi, said.

“They have weapons with them. Batha had surrendered along with other NDFB leaders but he went underground later,” he said.

B.R. Ferenga, a former NDFB leader who is now an executive member of the autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), did not rule out the possibility of Hagrama Mohilary being behind the formation of the NLFB.

A former extremist, Mr Mohilary is the chief of the Bodoland People’s Front, which severed its ties with the BJP and joined the Congress-led Mahajot, or grand alliance, ahead of the ensuing Assembly poll. He had ruled the BTC for 17 years before the BJP and its new ally, the United People’s Party Liberal, took over in December 2020.

The police, however, said it would be difficult to substantiate the allegation of political patronisation until there is evidence.

The Congress was quick to puncture holes in the BJP’s claim of having solved the insurgency problem and ensuring peace in Assam.

“The birth of a new militant group is unfortunate, but it exposes the BJP-led government’s much-vaunted claim of maintaining peace in Assam,” State Congress leader Bobbeeta Sharma said.

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Special Correspondent