Thursday, September 17, 2009

Will surrendered Dimasa militants meet the fate of Brus?

SILCHAR, Sept 16: This question has been impinging the minds of insurgency-analysts in the wake of the laying down of arms and ammunition by Dima Halam Daogah (DHD) of Jewel Gorlosa faction and the formal “Farewell to Arms” ceremony on September 24 in presence of the Chief Minister of Asom, Tarun Gogoi, after his return from America. Adhering to the deadline of September 15 set by the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, according to sources in Haflong, till Monday 360 militants including some top leaders, with arms and ammunition, surrendered before police officials at AP Battalion Headquarters at Sontila in North Cachar Hills.

Among the big guns to opt for surrender are Daniel Dimasa, Maurang and Daku Dimasa. DHD ‘chief’ Jewel Gorlosa and ‘deputy commander-in-chief’ Partha Warisa, arrested in Bangalore on June 3, now in judicial custody, would be present on the surrender ceremony. Outfit’s ‘commander-in-chief’ Niranjan Hojai, believed to be in China, who is reported to have agreed to the peace-process, is likely to be present on the occasion.

David Dimasa, a ‘colonel’ in the outfit and Prakash Dimasa, ‘area commander’, have been on the mission to escort Niranjan Hojai from his exile. After the surrender ceremony, the rebels will be shifted to four possible designated camps at Kapurcherra, Sontila, Dihangi and Haflong.

Significantly, DHD (Dilip Nunisa faction) entered into ceasefire on December 23, 2003, following the surrender of around 800 cadres who are cooped in four designated camps of Harangajao, Dhansiri, Maibong and Dignandu. Relevant to say while DHD (J), also known as Black Widow, has set the prime condition for surrender the renaming of NC Hills as Dima Hasao Raji. Dilip Nunisa, on the other hand, has reiterated the demand for Dima Raji which he said “will be our own home land, Heremba Rajya.”

“Our Dimaraji demand is not a myth but based on historical records and legends”, he stressed and claimed “is supported by the communities, tribals and non-tribals”. The demand for ‘exclusive homeland’, according to analysts, is likely to queer the pitch for negotiation and amicable settlement, though Nunisa clarified “Dimaraji will be within the ambit of the Indian Constitution”. In order to ensure that the cadres do not indulge in any misadventure, all the eight designated camps of both the factions of DHD will be under the watch of security forces.

Besides, questions are being raised ––will the Government of Asom implement the accord to be signed in letter and spirit? This brings into focus the fate of Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) and Bru Liberation Front of Mizoram (BLFM) which surrendered on April 26, 2005 and December 12, 2006. It was followed by Peace Accord between the two factions and the Government of Mizoram. The Accord envisaged repatriation of 35,000 Bru or Reang refugees housed in six camps of Kanchanpur in Tripura who fled their native State of Mizoram during the ethnic violence of 1997. Three-year term Special Development Project for which the Centre earmarked Rs 39 crore for the socioeconomic amelioration of Brus, the accommodation of the refugees in 22 centres spread across the districts of Aizawl, Mamit and Lunglei and thereafter shifting them to their respective native villages as well as absorption of the surrendered militants in security forces have remained on paper only. The Rs 28 lakh package by the Centre for BNLF cadres too is in red-tapism. Not even a single clause of the Accord has been implemented. Like the refugees, more than 400 cadres of BNLF and BLFM continue to languish in Mamit camps.

Will the Dimasa militants be kept confined in their designated camps like the Brus? This might again create a volatile situation in the Hills district. It should not be missed that behind this peace-process lies the yearning of people for peace. Most important, the Centre should reach an agreement with NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) in order to bring down the curtain on insurgency in the Northeast. The Union Home Ministry must take up the Bru issue with the Mizoram Government for Accord implementation to send the signal that it is serious about peace in Northeast as a whole. THE SENTINEL

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