From our Staff Reporter
SILCHAR, Oct 2: With phulam gamosas around necks and red roses in hands, 382 Black Widow rebels ceremonially joined the mainstream on October 2, the day when the priest of non-violence — Mahatma Gandhi — was born. Niranjan Hojai (32), the self-styled commander-in-chief of the DHD-J (popularly known as Black Widow), led his battalion that deposited 148 firearms in front of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. Black Widow supremo Jewel Garlosa, now in jail, could not attend the ceremonial surrender as he was reportedly denied permission by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Other top leaders of the outfit like Daniel Demasa, Daku Dimasa, Dinob Dimasa and Prakash Dimasa today handed over arms to the Chief Minister.
An elated Gogoi announced a Rs 50-crore special package for NC Hills. He promised that he would personally take up the matter with the Centre to ensure more funds for the trouble-torn district. “We need peace, as only peace can usher in progress,” Gogoi said, and cited the case of Hagrama Mohilary, the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) chief. He indirectly appealed to the surrendered Dimasa militants to take up the path of electoral politics. “Look, Hagrama, once a militant, is now running his territory with political power under the ambit of the Constitution.” Gogoi said that he would very soon declare a rehabilitation package for the surrendered militants. Further, a battalion could also be raised with them, Gogoi said, and added that the State Government would initiate a special recruitment drive for the rebels who had abjured violence.
Niranjan Hojai said that it was Union Home Minister P Chidambaram who had influenced the outfit to abjure violence and join the mainstream of society. Hojai said the Dimasas are in general a peace-loving tribe and all the communities residing in the district should feel free to build a new NC Hills.
Khagen Sarma, the man who was instrumental in bringing the Black Widow to the mainstream, today monitored the entire function held at Haflong DSA ground. Sarma said the Black Widow that showed its strength by unleashing violence has today proved that it can renounce violence for the sake of peace and prosperity.
MP Biren Singh Ingti said that he hoped that the surrender of the Black Widow would ensure speedy completion of Broad Gauge and East-West Corridor works. Earlier, NC Hills Deputy Commissioner Jagannathan welcomed the guests, while SP Anurag Tangkha gave details of the process of surrender. The Centre was represented by Joint Secretary of Home Navin Verma. THE SENTINEL