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NDFB accepts Assam CM's truce offer

G Vinayak in Guwahati | October 08, 2004 23:53 IST

The banned National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) on Friday accepted Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi's offer and declared a ceasefire beginning October 15 for a period of six months even as a reserve brigade of the army was being deployed in the western districts of Assam to intensify counter-insurgency operations.

In a press statement jointly signed by its president D R Nabla and 'chief of Boroland army Lt Colonel B Susranggra', NDFB said the ceasefire would enable 'creation of a congenial atmosphere and initiation of talks with the government of India'.

"All the commanders of the Boroland army are to immediately suspend hostilities against India," the statement said.

This marks a breaking of ranks with its comrade-in-arms, the United Liberation Front of Asom.

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Gogoi had made the truce offer to both the ULFA and the NDFB on September 30 but ULFA chief Paresh Baruah had quickly rejected the idea saying his outfit would only talk to the Centre and that too if the agenda included the question of Assam's sovereignty.

In response to Gogoi's offer, both outfits had set off several bomb blasts across Assam between October 2 and 5, killing at least 50 people.

Meanwhile, the Unified Command, a three-tier structure that directs the counter-insurgency operations in the state, has gone into an overdrive in the western districts to try and curb the latest offensive by the militants.

Simultaneously, the Union home ministry has decided to dispatch 5,000 additional para-military personnel to the Northeast, adding more muscle to the army's already formidable presence in Assam.

Under Operation Rhino II, two full divisions of the army - 21 and 2 based at Rangiya and Dinjan respectively - are perpetually engaged in counter-insurgency operations in the last decade. The 24 Brigade, part of the 21 Division, is based in Meghalaya and is normally held in reserve. It will now be deployed in the western districts.

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