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118 rebels surrender in Tripura

Agartala, Feb. 15: In one of the largest en masse surrenders in recent times, altogether 118 Borok National Council of Tripura (BNCT) militants laid down arms last night at Wakirampara under Chhawmanu police station of Dhalai district.

The militants, which carried out low-key operations in Dhalai and North Tripura, deposited one AK-56 assault rifle, one 7.62 self-loading rifle, one 303 rifle, one .9mm revolver, two mortars, 13 country-made guns, two daggers, two binoculars and large quantities of ammunition.

Police sources said most of the outfit’s 118 militants had joined the banned National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) before the last Assembly elections to terrorise voters in the interior areas but failed to make any headway because of heavy security.

Counter-insurgency operations by security forces in the hilly interior areas the militants were confined to camps in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh in abject condition.

“They also faced the heat after the Awami League-led government came to power in Bangladesh and entered the state early this week after fleeing the NLFT hideouts in Bangladesh and contacted superintendent of police (Dhalai), Aneesh Prasad, through emissaries,” a source said.

Accordingly, Prasad made arrangements for the surrender last night and reached the appointed place in Wakirampara, accompanied by SDPO (Chhawmanu) Subhash Debbarma, inspector of Chhawmanu police station Gamanjay Reang and battalion commandants of CRPF and BSF.

“Around 9pm, the militants led by their commander Pabanjay Tripura appeared at Wakirampara and laid down arms,” he said.

In the course of primary interrogation Pabanjay Tripura and his lieutenants admitted that they were recruited three months ahead of the 2008 Assembly polls to work for candidates owing allegiance to the NLFT.

“According to statements made by them, the BNCT militants had been assigned the task of extorting money, kidnapping people and working for NLFT’s preferred candidates in the last Assembly polls,” the source said.

However, Pabanjay and his lieutenants informed the interrogators that lack of support from common tribal people, operations of security forces and presence of Tripura State Rifles-manned camps all over the interior areas made it impossible for them to perform their assigned tasks.

“They also disclosed the pathetic condition of the NLFT cadres in camps at Chittagong Hill Tracts saying that in the coming days most of the NLFT cadres will also be forced to surrender because of the stand taken by the present Bangladesh government,” the source said.

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