About 300 former militants of the Bodo Liberation Tigers, recruited into the Border Security Force in 2004, rebelled against the 'tough' training methods of the paramilitary force on Thursday and tried to flee the training camp en masse before being intercepted and brought back, BSF officials said in Manipur's capital Imphal.
The former rebels, undergoing training at a BSF camp in Manipur's Churachandpur district, hired three buses and walked out of the camp on Thursday morning en route to Kokrajhar, their hometown.
As they boarded three buses hired from Churachandpur and headed for Assam, BSF authorities swung into action and posted teams at exit points along the way. Two of the buses were stopped at Torbung, a little distance from the district headquarters, while the third was waylaid at Koirengei in Imphal.
The 300-odd former members of the BLT, which was disbanded after its leadership signed a tripartite accord with Delhi and Dispur in 2003, were later herded back into the BSF camp at Gangbimualkoi village, about 2 km south of the Churachandpur district headquarters.
Sources said the former BLT militants were planning to flee the training camp for sometime now. They hired the three buses a few days ago.
No BSF official was available at the subsidiary training camp for comment. A senior police official in Churachandpur said over phone that the paramilitary force did not inform the district administration either about the recruits' attempt to flee.
"We heard from secondary sources that all the rebels who attempted to run away were brought back to the training camp. The BSF did not inform us about the development," the police official said.
The recruits were reportedly unhappy at being treated harshly by the BSF trainers. The trainees were even planning to file a complaint with the director-general of the BSF, citing instances of harassment.
Chandan Brahma, deputy chief executive member of the Bodoland Territorial Council confirmed the incident, but said not much should be read into it. "It was not very serious and has been sorted out," he said.
However, a former rebel said some of his former comrades telephoned him from the BSF camp and spoke of 'mistreatment' at the hands of both officers and jawans.
"Most of my friends had gone there to be inducted as soldiers, but have been made to work as carpenters or cooks. They were not mentally prepared for such a life. Hence the resentment," the former rebel said.
The BSF selected 300 former members of the BLT, while the CRPF recruited 550. Another 300 former militants were made 'special police officers' in Assam and 150 were inducted into the Assam Rifles.