The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Girl escapes from camp with militants

Agartala, July 3: A Reang tribal girl kidnapped by the National Liberation Front of Tripura and subjected to repeated sexual abuse at the outfit’s camp for the past six months, escaped with five hardcore NLFT rebels on Friday.

The five militants surrendered to police yesterday.

The rebel and the tribal girl, aged 18, fled the outfit’s headquarters at Tangalkandi in the Sajek range of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh.

The five rebels surrendered around 6.30pm in the remote Aananda Bazar area under Kanchanpur subdivision of North Tripura in the presence of subdivisional police officer, Kanchanpur (SDPO), Kishore Debbarma, circle inspector Ajay Debbarma and the officer-in-charge of Kanchanpur police station, Samir Roy. Kishore Debbarma made necessary arrange-ments to send the girl home.

Police said self-styled corporal Nirmal Debbarma, Adhir Charan Debbarma, Jitendra Debbarma, Sukumar Debbarma, Ranjit Kumar Reang — all in their twenties — and the girl, trekked through the hilly terrain and reached Kanchanpur subdivision on Monday.

The girl was kidnapped from her residence at Raimoni para under the subdivision and taken to the NLFT headquarters on January 23, a month before the Assembly elections. She was sexually abused at the Tangalkandi camp.

On Monday, Kishore Debbarma had received information from a source that a group of five hardcore NLFT rebels, led by self-styled corporal Nirmal Debbarma, could surrender in a day or two.

The person extracted an assurance from the police that they would not be arrested and it would be a genuine surrender to enable the militants get rehabilitation benefits.

He contacted the police yesterday morning to inform that the five rebels and a tribal girl would surrender in the evening at Aananda Bazar.

The police officers reached Aananda Bazar with a large contingent of police and Tripura State Rifles jawans.

Police sources described the surrender of militants as a “major success”.

Sources said the surrendered militants had deposited ammunition and a grenade.

“I realised within three years that we were heading nowhere. We received neither salary nor food and ultimately had to scour for inedibles or opt for shifting cultivation,” Kishore Debbarma quoted Nirmal as saying.

Nirmal told the police that all the inmates in the Tangalkandi camp of the NLFT in the Sajek range were keen to return home but could not do so because of strict vigilance.

Nirmal had reportedly said that NLFT chief Biswamohan Debbarma who lives in a flat of his own in Dhaka, had stopped visiting the camps of the outfit dotting the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

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