419 KLNLF ultras lay down arms
DIPHU, Feb 11 – Insurgent group Karbi Longri N C Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF), which had targeted Hindi- speaking people in Karbi Anglong district, today laid down arms at a public function here to pave the way for peace talks.
Acting chairman of the group Hage Khaathar led his top leaders including ‘commander-in-chief’ Songja Timong, ‘general secretary’ Thong Teron and 416 cadres for the decommissioning programme at the Kasa stadium here.
KLNLF, a breakaway faction of the United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS), was formed in 2004. The split was triggered by a ceasefire agreement between the UPDS and Union Government in 2002.
The group, fighting for the cause of Karbi tribes and self-rule, had been unleashing violence in the hill district for over five years.
“We have realised our problems cannot be solved through an arms revolution but only through peace talks,” said Khaathar at the surrender ceremony.
Laying down arms is necessary before any peace talks as per the new ground rules of the Centre.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Union Joint Secretary (Home) in-charge of North-east Arvind Verma were present at the programme which saw a gathering of about 40,000 people.
Gogoi said laying down of arms by KLNLF would help restore peace in the district.
“My government will help in speeding up the peace process. The rehabilitation package per decommissioned cadre will be increased to Rs 2 lakh from Rs 1.5 lakh. I will also give a development package of Rs 50 crore for the district,” he said.
KLNLF chairman P Dili was arrested last year from Shillong and is now lodged in a jail in Assam.
Verma said tripartite talks among the Centre, the Assam Government and the KLNLF would be held soon.
Positive steps have been taken by the Centre for solving Karbi Anglong’s problems and for rehabilitation of the cadres coming to the mainstream, he said.
The KLNLF cadres deposited assorted arms including 18 AK-47 rifles, 17 AK-56 rifles, five M-16 rifles, one each of UMG, LMG guns, rifle launcher, RPG-4 launcher and US carbine, six 40-mm guns, three SLR rifles, two .22 rifles.
Besides, several other weapons and a huge quantity of assorted ammunition, walkie-talkie radio sets, grenades, IEDs, RDX, detonators and TNT were also deposited. – PTI