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NDFB accuses Govt of violating ceasefire

The NDFB claims police shot dead one of its cadres on Tuesday in western Assam.

india Updated: Apr 27, 2006 10:45 IST

The outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in Assam has accused the government of violating a one-year-old ceasefire by killing one of its cadres and arresting several rebels.

"The government has violated the ceasefire by killing one of our cadres and arresting eight more in separate incidents without any provocation," Govinda Basumatary, general secretary of the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) said.

The government and the NDFB signed a one-year ceasefire pact in May last year aimed at ending two decades of violence in Assam that has left thousands dead. The ceasefire expires June 1.

Basumatary warned the outfit would not remain silent if such action continued when the ceasefire was on.

"If such acts continue, we may be forced to go back to the jungles once again," another senior NDFB leader said requesting anonymity.

The NDFB claims police shot dead one of its cadres on Tuesday in western Assam when the outfit enforced a daylong general strike in the area to protest the weekend arrest of eight of its members on extortion charges.

The authorities denied the allegation and said the rebel who died was "lynched by a mob".

"The eight NDFB cadres were arrested on specific charges of extortion. The death of the NDFB militant was a result of mob attack and not police firing," a senior police official said.

The Bodos, a primitive tribe that is mostly either Hindu or Christian, account for about 10 per cent of Assam's 26 million people and live in the western and northern parts of the state.

Under the ceasefire agreement, NDFB cadres were lodged in government run camps until a final settlement was reached with the rebels.

"The government is clearly indifferent on holding talks with us and today there are serious doubts being expressed regarding the validity of the ceasefire," the NDFB general secretary said.

"Eleven months have lapsed and the government is yet to invite us for talks."

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said his government on Wednesday requested New Delhi to expedite holding peace talks with the NDFB to help save the ceasefire from breaking down.

"We have urged the Indian government to begin talks with the NDFB. The NDFB should immediately submit a list of their demands on which they want the talks to be held," Gogoi said.

Talks between government peace negotiators and representatives of the state's other frontline rebel group, the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), have begun although the outfit wants its main demand of independence to be discussed in the negotiations.

First Published: Apr 27, 2006 10:45 IST