People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 52

December 28, 2003


Extremists Suffer Losses In Encounters, Through Surrenders


THE concerted counter insurgency campaign of the people, the police and the paramilitary forces in Tripura has been leading to considerable casualties among and capture of extremists. At the same time, there is an ongoing rebellious rush among them for return to the mainstream, with numerous extremists surrendering to the administration and laying down their arms.


In this background, on December 14 morning, a successful joint operation of the state police and Assam Rifles, based on excellent intelligence tips from the people, led to the death of three hardcore extremists of the outlawed NLFT and capture of three others in the Takarjala area under Bishalgarh subdivision of West Tripura district. The area has been known as a stronghold of the so-called National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT).


Acting on a tip-off, confirmed by the special intelligence source of the Assam Rifles itself, a combined contingent of the state police and Assam Rifles, led by the Assam Rifles’ Sixth Battalion commandant and the Takarjala circle inspector of police, made a massive manhunt at Takarjala on Sunday. At about 8 a m, the jawans challenged the extremists who were sheltered in the house of a 26 years old tribal woman; the latter is said to be involved in an illicit relationship with one of the NLFT extremists. The security forces retaliated when the surrounded extremists opened fire, killing in the house compound two NLFT extremists, one of whom was a self-styled area commander as also the paramour of the said tribal woman. While trying to make good their escape, the other extremists stumbled on a section of the same security forces lying in wait nearby. Yet another extremist was gunned down there, while others fled to the remote area of Killa in South Tripura district.


The subsequent combing of the area led to the arrest of three NLFT associates and the seizure of an American made, brand new rifle, 4 rounds of bullets and some incriminating documents. The self styled NLFT area commander, who was killed in the encounter on Sunday, was the ring leader of the NLFT gunmen who had killed a local CPI(M) leader on November 23 last. An extremist associate involved in this assassination was also included in those captured on the day.


In yet another encounter, an NLFT extremist was captured on the same day by Assam Rifles jawans at Hatkhala village under Khowai subdivision, West Tripura.




Earlier, on December 11, in Dhalai district of Tripura, four NLFT extremists and along with them five of their BNCT associates surrendered to the police and Tripura State Rifles (TSR) officers and laid down their arms. This surrender took place in the aftermath of a rebellion in the NLFT camp in Bangladesh territory on November 15 and 16, when 19 NLFT extremists escaped from the camp after killing six of the NLFT top brass, and crossed over into Tripura with arms and ammunitions. The incident demonstrated how the political resistance of the people of Tripura is increasingly paling into insignificance the power of the gun. In fact, today, there is an ongoing wave of mutiny among the misguided rank and file militants, which bids fair for peace and may fling open a floodgate of their return to the mainstream in Tripura.


At about 4 p m on December 11, two NLFT extremists came to the TSR’s Eighth Battalion headquarters at Manu in Dhalai district, and surrendered to the TSR officers. The arms they laid included three self-loading rifles with three magazines, 132 rounds of bullets and a Chinese made grenade, with which they had fled their camp in Bangladesh territory. Some more extremists had accompanied them in their escape, they stated.


In the same afternoon, a self styled area commander and a self styled lance corporal of the NLFT surrendered to the officer in charge of Chhamanu police station of Dhalai, laying down a carbine with three magazines, 50 rounds of bullets and a Chinese made grenade, with which they had fled their Bangladesh camp. Five BNCT extremists also surrendered along with them.


Interrogated by the police, the surrendering NLFT extremists stated that a sense of deep despair and disillusionment has been reigning supreme among the rank and file throughout all the 50 NLFT camps in Bangladesh, especially since the Tripura assembly elections in February 2003. One of them revealed that, prior to carrying out extremist activities in Tripura, he and others had been provided arms training in a camp at Khegrachhari in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh. The surrendered NLFT extremists also indicated that a mutiny was brewing up among the militants in several camps in the Bangladesh territory, like the one that broke out at the NLFT’s Sajok hill camp in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh on November 15-16.


One may note that the Congress party is currently in an alliance with the INPT, which is the overground political wing of the NLFT, and the alliance was struck with a view to hijacking the Tripura assembly elections in February last with the help of the NLFT guns. This way the Congress and the INPT wanted to repeat the May 2000 experiment, when the INPT had usurped the Tripura Tribal Area Autonomous District Council (ADC) by rigging the ADC elections at gunpoint. It is another matter that the intrepid and ideologically conscious people foiled the game and brought the fifth Left Front government to power through a massive mandate. (INN)