GUWAHATI: Myanmar on Friday handed over 22 long-wanted insurgents from Manipur and Assam to India.
This is the first time that Yangon has acted on the request of New Delhi to hand over insurgents from the Northeast.
Twelve of the insurgents are from Manipur. They belong to groups such as United National Liberation Front (UNLF), People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL).
Of the remaining 10, five are from the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB-S) and as many others from Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO).
Defence sources said that the insurgents were brought in a special plane.
The plane carrying the insurgents first had a stopover in Manipur capital Imphal. After handing over the 12 rebels from the state to the police there, the plane flew to Guwahati. Assam’s Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta confirmed the plane landed in Guwahati where rest of the rebels were handed over to the state police.
The extremists include NDFB (S) “home secretary” Rajen Daimary, Sanatomba Ningthoujam of UNLF, and Pashuram Laishram of PREPAK.
“The handing of the insurgents over to India by Myanmar is possibly the result of backdoor diplomacy,” a defence source told this newspaper.
In January last year, the military of Myanmar had carried out a series of operations against militants from India’s Northeast. A number of them were apprehended. Some were also jailed.
Most militant groups in the Northeast operate from the soil of Myanmar, considered as a safe haven. They have their camps there where they impart training to the newly-recruited members.