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Bangla frees NLFT duo

Agartala, Dec. 24: The Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) yesterday handed over to the BSF two hardcore NLFT militants after the duo served 12 years’ rigorous imprisonment in Comilla district jail.

A team of BGB officials brought them from Comilla prison to the Muhurighat area opposite Belonia subdivision of South Tripura yesterday in the afternoon and contacted the BSF authorities. The final handover with detailed papers took place later.

The rebels, identified as Vidya Debbarma, 42, and Badhulia Jamatya, 39, were residents of the Salema area under Kamalpur subdivision and Takarjala area under Jampuijala subdivision .

They joined the NLFT together in 1997 for insurgent activities. While being initially interrogated by BSF officials, the duo said they had undergone training in use of arms and insurgency in NLFT’s hideouts in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.

“We had initially worked under Biswamohan Debbarma, Dhanu Koloi, Benoy Debbarma and Sukhram Debbarma after receiving primary training in the Chunarughat area under Habiganj district. Then we were taken to the Chittagong Hill Tracts but the NLFT split and we joined the NLFT (N) led by Nayanbasi Jamatya in 2001,” Vidya told police. After realising that even in the NLFT (N) they had no future, they escaped with 550 bullets. They ran towards the border in the Karbook area close to the Chittagong Hill Tracts in January 2002 to cross over to Tripura before surrendering to security forces.

“Before we could cross the border, personnel of the Bangladesh Rifles (now BGB) arrested us and we were lodged in different prisons from Bandarban to Comilla as we had been sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment by the trial court,” Vidya said.

After their prison term ended, the Bangladesh authorities ordered their push-back and they were sent yesterday.

They were handed over to the police by the BSF this morning. Vidya and Badhulia said they were keen to meet their families at home. They told their interrogators that at least 22 other NLFT rebels had been serving jail terms in Sylhet, Comilla, Habiganj and other prisons in Bangladesh.

“The NLFT has virtually ceased to exist. Only leaders of the outfit are there but they will also be pushed back unless BNP-Jamaat combine comes to power,” Badhulia said. The Union home ministry has renewed the ban on NLFT under the Prevention Of Disturbed Areas Act.