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Assam DGP: Not only Batha, other ‘elements’ too planning a return to jungles

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GUWAHATI: Amid the government of India’s frantic push to mainstream Northeast Indian militants in accordance with its pre-poll promises, it has come to light that some disillusioned former militants of Assam are now packing their bags to return to the wilds of the ‘underground.’

Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, Assam’s Director General of Police (DGP), today divulged to Inside Northeast that several ‘elements’ — including National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) leader M Batha — might have returned to the jungles to mount another insurrection.

Asked about reports of former rebel leader M Batha returning to the underground, DGP Mahanta said, “Not only Batha…there are several others who are mulling a return to the jungles, we have been informed. I cannot divulge all the information at this present moment.”

Mahanta said that any attempt at reviving ‘gun politics’ in the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) shall be met with strict and swift resistance by the Assam Police.

“This kind of gun politics will never be accepted by the Assam Police. This time, they will face stiff resistance from us. Already, we have seized several unlicensed arms in the region. We will continue with our efforts to make the BTR completely weapons-free.”

Batha, who was a senior leader of the NDFB (S), returned overground in January of 2020 ahead of the signing of the third Bodo treaty.

Batha alias M Biban alias Binod Mushahary alias Gojo returned with G Bidai, the much-feared army chief of the proscribed outfit.

The tripartite agreement signed between the State, the Centre, and Bodo stakeholders was the third Bodo accord to be signed in the last 27 years as a means to usher in peace after the violent movement for a separate Bodoland state had claimed hundreds of lives.

Shortly thereafter, the NDFB, after 34 years of waging a struggle to carve out a separate state Bodoland, disbanded itself. On March 9 in 2020, three factions headed by Sairaigwra, Daimary and Boro organised a joint disbandment ceremony at a designated camp the factions at Sonai in Udalguri district.

Meanwhile, Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) chief Promod Boro has expressed his “dismay” at the reports of the ultras returning to the ‘underground’ in the wake of the Council elections.

“This is unfortunate news. If anybody is returning to the jungle, they should think twice. No developmental activities can be undertaken from the jungles. Development can only be done by staying in the mainstream and working for the well being of society,” Boro said on the sidelines of a programme in Kokrajhar.

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