People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
November 14, 2004
Revel In Luxury, Cadres Are Tortured
VERY soon after both the banned extremist outfits of Tripura --- the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and the All Tripura Tigers Force (ATTF) --- tried to mar the festive mood of the people in the state on the occasion of Durga Puja Festival, by carrying out some sporadic attacks wherein several innocent people including a CPI(M) leader Gaganjoy Tripura of Gandachhara in Dhalai District was killed, 39 extremist cadres belonging to both the outfits, in two batches, surrendered to the director general of police G S Srivasatav in a short but ceremonious function at Agartala police headquarters on October 30.
Among those surrendering, 20 belonged to the NLFT (BM) group, 6 were their collaborators under the captaincy of Jabamohan Jamatia, self-styled second lieutenant of the outfit, and the 13 belonged to the ATTF; these latter surrendered under the leadership of Paban Debbarma, a self-styled sergeant of the outfit. The numbers and types of arms they handed over to the DGP during their surrender are: AK series rifles 4, SLRs 5, 9 mm carbines 2, revolvers 2, grenades 3, magazines 21 and cartridges for different arms 999.
In his confessionary statement during surrender, Jabamohan Jamatia informed that in 1996, some leaders of the NLFT had allured him by the promise of “golden days” ahead if Tripura were freed for the tribals. Then he was drawn to hideouts in Bangladesh where he was trained in all sorts of modern weapons. In a voice repenting over the invaluable life span he has lost forever, Jabamohan said that he himself, his family members and friends had become suspicious in the eyes of the locality for the misdeeds committed by him. On the other hand, top leaders of his outfits have been leading a royal, lavish life with the money squeezed by others. He also informed that many more are waiting for their chance to flee.
In his unhesitating confession, Paban Debbarma of the ATTF vividly narrated his terrible jungle life and informed that a few top brass of the ATTF are reveling in luxury in 5-star hotels while the lower level cadres, once called the “soldiers of free Tripura,” have now become the slaves of the former. The cadres are subjected to inhuman tortures in the event they fail to satisfy the “bosses” with adequate amount of deposits by extortion of the common people including the tribals.
Warmly welcoming the homecoming of the misguided youths, DGP Srivasatav said that due to this surrender, deep demoralisation would set in among the cadres of the extremist outfits. He expressed the hope that it might lead to further desertions and surrender. On the other hand, the emboldened peace loving forces in the state and the security forces would soon launch a new offensive as part of their anti-insurgency operation. He also called upon the other youths still clinging to the wrong path of extremism, to follow suit.
On the very next day of this surrender, security forces achieved a major breakthrough in their counter-insurgency operations at two separate locations, killing two hardcore extremists --- one of each outfit --- and seizing from them some sophisticated arms and ammunitions. Acting on a tip-off, the police started an intensive search at Champabari, a remote hilly terrain under Jirania police station in West Tripura district since night. At last on the following morning, they encountered a group of ATTF extremists who were the first to open fire on the security forces. This led to an encounter with the extremists. On searching the spot following the retreat of the extremists under jungle cover, the dead body of one Budhi Debbarma of ATTF was recovered from the spot. An AK-66 rifle, two magazines and 26 rounds of live cartridges were recovered from near the dead body.
In another encounter at dawn time at Ratukraipara under Amarpur police station in South Tripura district, one Pannalal Reang of the NLFT (BM) group was killed. There also, the police seized from his possession one AK-56 rifle, three magazines, 108 rounds of live cartridges and currencies of Bangladesh, India and Myanmar.
Being informed by a trusted source, the Karamchhara police immediately moved for an operation at Birmani Roajapara under Manu police station in Dhalai district. There they demolished a gun-making factory and seized all the materials including some tools, machines and explosives found there. The police arrested three persons involved in running the factory. Reportedly, they used to sell their products to the extremists.
Earlier, on October 27, a passenger jeep plying from Khowai town to Rajnagar, a block headquarters town, was attacked by some NLFT extremists. While the extremists tried to halt the vehicle, the driver of the jeep anticipated the imminent danger and drove it on till he reached a safer zone. Having failed to pound upon their prey, the armed extremists rained bullets on the running vehicle from behind, resulting in the death of two non-tribal passengers and injuries to several others including tribals. The dead were identified as Shibcharan Debnath, a petty trader, and Pijush Paul Chowdhury, a house tutor. Three of the injured were taken to G B Hospital, Agartala for treatment.
On October 30, ATTF extremists beheaded Rebati Kanya Debbarma (45), a tribal woman of Monaikher under Kalyanpur police station under Khowai subdivision in West Tripura district. The police apprehended that reprisal following a family dispute was the motive behind this murder and that one Atul Debbarma, an ATTF extremist who happens to be the son of the dead woman’s sister, had got another ATTF cadre Bipin Debbarma to commit this murder.