‘Naga accord: Others may follow will suit’

Agartala, Aug 4 (IANS) The signing of the peace accord between the central government and the NSCN-IM will encourage other militant outfits to begin peace talks with the government, a former terrorist-turned-politician said here on Tuesday.

“We welcome the peace accord between the central government and NSCN (IM). This significant step will encourage other militant outfits of the region to initiate peace talks with the government,” INPT president Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl told IANS.

At the instance of then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, Hrangkhawl’s dreaded militant outfit Tripura National Volunteers (TNV) had signed a tripartite peace accord with the central and Tripura governments on August 12, 1988 before around 450 men of the outfit surrendered.

Subsequently, the TNV merged with a tribal based political party Tripura Upajati Juba Samity and formed the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) in 2002.

The 70-year-old tribal leader has served as a member of the Tripura assembly for 10 years from 1998.

Speaking on the accord with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah, Hrangkhawl said: “It is good for both the northeast region and the Nagas, as the NSCN-IM had been fighting for the cause of the Nagas for many decades.”

The central government and the NSCN-IM held more than 50 rounds of peace talks to end one of south Asia’s longest-running insurgencies in which 25,000 people have died since 1947.

Meanwhile, according to an official of the union home ministry, around seven extremist outfits of the northeast region, including United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA-Pro-Talk faction) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland-Progressive (NDFB-P), are currently under ceasefire and suspension of operation agreement with the government.

Officials of Tripura and union home ministry had held two-round of talks with the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) after the rebel group expressed their willingness to hold peace talks.

Members of NLFT and All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) have taken shelter and arms training in Bangladesh, which shares a 856-km border with Tripura.

Both outfits, banned in 1997, advocate secession of Tripura from India. But as most ATTF cadres have surrendered, the group is almost non-existent now.

In view of the significant taming of terrorism in Tripura, the Left-ruled state government on May 27 withdrew the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which gives sweeping powers and judicial immunity to security forces in conflict-hit areas. The law was enforced in the state 18 years ago to curb terrorism.


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