Silchar Feb. 21: The eight-year-old militant outfit of the Reang community in the Barak valley districts, United Democratic Liberation Front, yesterday announced its “avowed intention” to return to the mainstream by surrendering arms.
Spokesperson for the outfit, Rajesh Charki, said the UDLF, formerly known as the United Democratic Liberation Army (UDLA), in an identical letter to Hailakandi deputy commissioner J.V. Balaji and superintendent of police Brajendrajit Singh, had declared that it would observe ceasefire for six months from yesterday and keep in abeyance all its insurgent operations.
Chorki, a graduate from New Delhi’s Hansraj College, said, “It is now up to Dispur to formally accept the UDLF’s ceasefire and make necessary arrangements for initiating the peace talks with the outfit and come to terms with it on the basis of a 13-point demand which the UDLF had proposed along with its resolve to adhere to the six month-long ceasefire declaration.”
Chorki said the sudden declaration of the ceasefire came in the wake of the secret parleys that the group had been carrying on with the district’s senior police officials from time to time last year.
The charter of demands that this group had placed before both the Hailakandi officials, with copies to Dispur and Delhi, included among others the grant of an autonomous development council for the indigenous people inhabiting south Hailakandi areas that border Mizoram, accelerated economic development, grant of facilities like education and health for them and the upgrade of the villages in the Barak districts into model villages.
The UDLF has over 200 trained and semi-trained recruits and Chorki claimed that such cadres possess about 100 modern and countrymade arms in their arsenal.
The headquarters of the outfit is somewhere near Bhagcherra village under Katlicherra block, the constituency of Assam minister and six times MLA Gautam Roy.
The outfit, according to police sources in the district headquarters town of Hailakandi, had waged many guerrilla strikes over the past eight years in which 19 armed cadres had been killed by the police and security forces.