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NDFB mulls truce pullout

Guwahati, Feb. 18: Frustrated by the lack of a response from either Delhi or Dispur, the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) is contemplating calling off its unilateral ceasefire.

A highly-placed police source said the NDFB leadership had already alerted its cadre, now 'resting' in different places, to 'get ready for action'. He said the intelligence warning had been forwarded to the Congress government.

The NDFB announced a unilateral six-month ceasefire from October 15, but there has been no sign of a reciprocal truce from Delhi.

The Tarun Gogoi government lobbed the ball to the Centre's court after the militant group made it clear that it was unwilling to begin talks with Dispur.

The police source said the death of a senior member of the outfit in an encounter with the army last week had apparently shaken the NDFB and made it sceptical of the Centre's willingness to start a dialogue.

Army personnel gunned down Jhangkri Thai Narzary, the finance secretary of a unit of the NDFB, in Sonitpur district. The army claimed the slain militant was involved in the murder of the manager of Giladhari tea estate in the same district last year.

Officials engaged in counter-insurgency operations in the NDFB strongholds of Lower Assam and the North Bank admitted the situation would spin out of control if the Bodo group called off its ceasefire. 'Despite several setbacks in recent times, the NDFB still has enough firepower to keep security forces very busy. The situation has been relatively peaceful since the disbanded Bodo Liberation Tigers signed an accord with Delhi and Dispur to form the Bodoland Territorial Council. But this peace may not last long,' a police officer based in Kokrajhar said.

A home department official said Dispur had sent 'several reminders' to Delhi to kickstart the peace process with the NDFB. 'Delhi did convey to the state government that it will hold talks with the outfit on the 'BLT pattern' through home ministry officials. But we have not heard from it since.'

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