GUWAHATI: As many as 1,615 members of four factions of the insurgent group National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in Assam laid down arms on Thursday, three days after their signing of historic third Bodo Accord with the Centre and Assam government.
They deposited 178 assorted weapons, grenades, explosives, mortars etc before Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and senior officials of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Assam’s civil administration and police and security and intelligence agencies at a programme in Guwahati.
As per the accord, the Centre and Assam government will give Rs.750 crore each over a period of three years for the development of Bodoland Territorial Region (earlier Bodoland Territorial Areas District), rehabilitate the rebels among others.
Speaking at the programme, Sonowal expressed optimism that the NDFB members would help build the society and play a key role in bringing those still wielding the gun to the talks table.
“I believe those who have joined the mainstream will help us in bringing those who have not come (overground) as yet. We have to work as a Team Assam. The will power is needed. If we have it, we can achieve anything,” Sonowal said pointing out “Mahatma Gandhi had united the world population with his message of peace and non-violence”.
He said he had received plenty of phone calls from people across countries and they congratulated him on the signing of a historic peace accord. He assured that all clauses in the agreement would be implemented by the government.
“We will bring in schemes by which every member of the NDFB can earn a living and lead a dignified life,” he said.
The CM congratulated Sarma on his role in solving some complex issues, one being the Bru issue, of the Northeast in recent past.
Sarma categorically stated that rehabilitation of the former NDFB rebels would be a priority of the government. He appealed to Paresh Baruah faction of the insurgent group United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) to join the peace talks.