Guwahati : Assam’s most violent tribal insurgent and banned militant outfit formally disbanded today following the mass surrender of all its cadres and leaders.
A total of 568 militants of the outlawed United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS), a rebel group active in the eastern district of Karbi Anglong, laid down arms at a formal surrender ceremony at the district headquarters of Diphu, some 250 km from here.
“This is a historic day as we all have formally joined the mainstream. From today, the UPDS does not exist,” UPDS chairman Longsudhar Senar said.
The rebels laid down a large cache of assorted weapons and ammunition before Assam Police chief Shankar Baruah and senior army and civil officials.
“We are happy to say that like the Mizo National Front in Mizoram and the Bodo Liberation Tigers in Assam, the UPDS too has surrendered en masse to join the mainstream. We hope permanent peace would dawn in the Karbi Anglong district,” the Assam Police chief said.
The en masse surrender follows a tri-partite accord signed between the UPDS, the Assam and the central government last month under which it was agreed to offer the rebels a politico-administrative structure with more autonomy.
The UPDS was formed in March 1999 with the merger of two separatist outfits in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district, the Karbi National Volunteers and Karbi People’s Front.