Assam Northeast

Did not surrender, but ceased fire: NLFB leader M Batha, demands Ranjan Daimary’s release

Returning to mainstream the second time, dreaded militant leader M Batha, alias Binod Mushahary on Friday said that they haven’t surrendered, but, ceased fire.

Batha had on Thursday returned to mainstream along with 22 other cadres of the newly floated National Liberation Front of Bodoland (NLFB) from their hiding in the jungles of Arunachal Pradesh.

They had laid down their arms in the presence of Assam cabinet minister Pijush Hazarika, Chief Executive Member of Bodoland Territorial Council Pramod Boro, Assam CM’s political adviser Jayanta Malla Baruah and Special DGP of Assam Police (L&W) GP Singh at Lalpani police station.

“This is not a surrender, but a ceasefire,” said Batha, one of the signatory of the Bodo Peace Accord that ended the armed revolution by National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in the four districts of Bodoland — Kokrajhar, Udalguri, Chirang and Baksa.

Batha’s return came days after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had declared him “most wanted” and announced Rs 10 lakh reward for his capture last week.

Batha, who joined NDFB in 1996 and had become the deputy chief of the Saoraigwra Basumatary faction of NDFB had surrendered along with Bishnu Basumatary, alias G Bidai January last year that led to the signing of peace accord with the Centre and Assam. At least 1615 cadres from four factions of NDFB had also laid down their arms.

However, miffed on the implementation of the Accord, Batha returned to the Jungles and according to police intelligence, helped float an “armed revolution group” NLFB, ahead of Assam Assembly elections 2021 last March to “end BJP’s rule in Bodoland”.

Coming back to mainstream the second time, Batha said on Friday, “We will not surrender unless all the NDFB (National Democratic Front of Bodoland) cadres who had surrendered gets employment as per the Accord and Ranjan Daimary is released from jail.”

Though rehabilitation of the 1615 surrendered NDFB cadres is part of the Accord, general amnesty to Ranjan Daimary, who led one of the four NDFB factions that came to mainstream, wasn’t part of the Accord.

Daimary, who is also a signatory in the Accord is currently lodged in jail after a special NIA court found him guilty in the 2008 Guwahati Serial Bomb blasts in which over 100 people had died.

Meanwhile, Batha’s return, who was also wanted in the massacre of 80 Adivasis in December 2014, along with NLFB has been welcomed by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

“Further peace dawns in BTR with the homecoming of NFLB top cadres to mainstream. A great leap forward towards a peaceful Assam. Sharing live visuals of the event. Grateful to Adarniya Griha Mantri Shri @AmitShah ji for his constant guidance and support.” Sarma tweeted.

Sarma had on July 12 told the assembly that a total of 3,439 militants of different groups have surrendered in Assam since 2016, when BJP-led government came to power in the state for the first term.

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