Friday, June 14, 2024

Militant group gives up arms, ready to fight election


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From Our Correspondent

Guwahati: All 568 cadres of the United Peoples’ Democratic Solidarity (UPDS), a Karbi militants group, laid down arms at a function held at Diphu in Karbi Anglong in presence of Assam’s DGP Shankar Baruah and GOC 4 Corps of the Indian Army Lt. Gen Shakti Gurung and other senior police and Army officials on Wednesday.

The mass surrender of weapons by the UPDS cadres was an immediate fall out of the memorandum of settlement (MoS) signed by the outfit with the Government of India on November 25 last as a culmination of a prolonged peace process that started way back in 2002. The surrender of arms was led by UPDS ‘chairman’ and ‘commander-in-chief’ Longsidar Senar.

The UPDS militants surrendered 177 assorted weapons including AK 47 assault rifles, rocket launcher, M-16 rifles, SLRs, G-3 & G-4 guns, carbines, pistols. They also deposited 18740 rounds of assorted ammunition, 322 magazines. They deposited the flag of the outfit and took up the Indian Tricolour.

With the surrender of weapons, the UPDS has been disbanded and its leaders and cadres have pledged to work for peace and development of the Karbi Anglong hill district in coming days.

UPDS general secretary Haren Sing Bey informed that they would soon form a political party and before that leaders of the now disbanded UPDS would contest the coming January election to Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) as independent candidates supported by Peoples’ Alliance for Peace Accord (PAPA), a platform of non-Congress political parties in Karbi Anglong.

The UPDS had signed a MoS with the Centre on November 25, laying the foundation for a political overhaul in the hill district, including the creation of a more potent Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territorial Council (KAATC) replacing the present Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) and a comprehensive administrative reorganization that includes creation of four new districts within the present hill district.

The UPDS was formed in March 1999 with the merger of two militant outfits in Karbi Anglong district — Karbi National Volunteers (KNV) and Karbi People’s Front (KPF).

The UPDS initially demanded a separate state for the Karbi tribe, comprising the existing district and adjoining areas in other districts that are, or once were, inhabited by the Karbi tribe people.

Karbi Anglong is one of Assam’s two hill districts, and has its own local government – Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) – under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.


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