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Peace talks with NLFT-B begins
 AGARTALA, April 6 – To pave the way for enmasse surrender of outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) cadres, a tripartite meeting involving the Centre, State Government and the outfit was held in Shillong.

While Tripura DGP K Nagraj and Director of Tribal Welfare L Darlong represented the State Government, three rebel leaders – Utpal Debbarma, Kajal Debbarma and Karna Debbarma and two IB officials representing the Centre joined the meting held on Thursday, according to highly placed sources.

Few months back, NLFT supremo Biswamohan Debbarma had written a letter to the Centre expressing eagerness for peace talks. After receiving the letter, the Centre had sought State Government’s view on the NLFT’s request and the State responded in a positive way. The April 2 meeting was the follow-up action of the NLFT’s peace talks offer.

According to sources, a preliminary discussion was held in Shillong meeting. In the meeting, it was decided to find a way of surrender of militants. Once the modality for surrender is finalised, another round of talks would be held but the date for the next round is yet to be decided.

NLFT’s peace talks offer came at a time when they are under immense pressure in Bangladesh. Dhaka has already taken a tough stand against Indian insurgents sheltered in Bangladesh soil. In fact, the outfit’s leaders are virtually on the run to evade arrest in the neighbouring country.

Considering all aspects, NLFT supremo designated its trusted lieutenant Utpal Debbarma to initiate peace talks with the Centre. Initially, it did not want to have talks with the State but the Centre has engaged the State Government to find an amicable solution to the vexed problem. According to security analysts, the NLFT has no option other than peace talks because it has been facing a lot of problems in running the show. The number of its cadres has reduced to 30/45 due to an onslaught by Bangladesh law enforcement agencies.

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