Centre signs 'Karbi Anglong Agreement'

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Visuals from the meeting.
Visuals from the meeting.

New Delhi [India], September 4 (ANI): The Central government on Saturday signed a tripartite "Karbi Anglong Agreement" with a group of representatives of Karbi outfits here in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

A delegation of six Karbi group members that signed the agreement includes Karbi Longri North Cachar Hills Liberation Front, People's Democratic Council of Karbi Longri, United People's Liberations Army, Karbi People's Liberation Tigers (Ceasefire), Karbi People's Liberation Tigers (R), and Karbi People's Liberation Tigers (M).

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla welcomed the Karbi group members before the agreement was signed, lauding them to come back in the mainstream to ensure law and order and peace in Assam.

Chief Executive Member KAAC felicitated the Home Minister with a gift and expressed happiness over the signing of the agreement.

Former Assam Chief Minister and present Union Cabinet Minister Sarbananda Sonowal congratulated Union Home Minister calling the agreement a "historic" move by the Centre, wishing the Karbi groups to adopt mainstream to maintain peace in Assam.

Noting Assam agitation, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said there was a historical moment in 2019 when Bodoland Accord was signed. "Now lower Assam has been turned into a peaceful area. Now we are going to sign an agreement with the Karbi Anglong group which is also a historic moment."

He ensured that the Assam government will take each and every possible step to make it a successful agreement, expecting "the accord will help in great support to the state".

The accord was signed at the North Block office of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

The accord is significant as an insurgency by Karbi -- a major ethnic community of Assam -- groups, dotted by several factions and splinters, has had a long history in Assam, marked by killings, ethnic violence, abductions and taxation since the late 1980s.

Over 150 Karbi militants, who were part of those 1,040 militants surrendered before the Assam government on February 25 this year, reached North Block while a group of 15 of them were present in the meeting when the agreement was signed.

These militants arrived in Delhi on Friday and were staying in Delhi's different hotels.

A total of 1,040 militants of five insurgent groups of Karbi Anglong district ceremonially laid down arms at an event in Guwahati on February 25 in the presence of then Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, a development which further bolsters the 'terrorism-free Assam' image of the current BJP-led government.

Among the surrendered militants was Ingti Kathar Songbijit, a primary accused in multiple cases of militancy and ethnic violence in the state.

The surrendered militants belong to Karbi Longri NC Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF), People's Democratic Council of Karbi Longri (PDCK), United Peoples Liberation Army (UPLA) and Kuki Liberation Front (KLF).

The former militants submitted a total of 338 weapons, including 8 light machine guns with 11,203 bullets, 11 M-16 rifles and 58 AK-47 rifles.

The former militants of the five organisations had come to surrender their weapons after a year when the BJP signed the Bodo peace accord to end the long-run violence in Bodoland. The Bodoland region is an autonomous territorial region that is administered by the elected body - Bodoland Terrestrial Council. The Bodo Accord was first signed in 2003 to maintain peace in the region, later it was extended by the Modi-led BJP government in 2020.

These outfits originated from the core demand of forming a separate state. The Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) is an autonomous district council, protected under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

The Karbi National Volunteers (KNV) and Karbi People's Force (KPF) came together to form the United People's Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) in the late 1990s. In November 2011, UPDS gave up arms and signed a tripartite memorandum of settlement with the Centre and the Assam government, settling for enhanced autonomy and special packages for the KAAC.

Director Intelligence Bureau Arvind Kumar, Assam Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua and Assam Director General of Police (DGP) Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta also took part in the agreement. (ANI)

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