DIPHU, Dec 5 � In a major setback to militant outfit Karbi Longri NC Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF), as many as 29 of its cadres, including a �commandant sergeant major� and two women, joined the rival United People�s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) on December 3.
The KLNLF cadres who have shifted their allegiance to UPDS were welcomed to the latter�s fold in the presence of mediapersons at a simple function arranged at the UPDS liaison office of Diphu.
Senior UPDS leader Lang Bart Engleng, welcoming the new entrants said that the doors of the UPDS are always open to KLNLF cadres. �We welcome whoever wants to join us. These boys are disillusioned with their group, after the signing of the peace agreement between UPDS and the Government, and they want peace and secure future. They will get equal treatment like our own boys in our camp,� Engleng said. He also revealed that till now nearly 60 KLNLF cadres have joined UPDS by deserting their organisation.
Rajak Dera, senior KLNLF leader and spokesperson of the outfit, when contacted on this matter said �so long we have kept ourselves detached from UPDS in every matter, but tomorrow we will reply before the press�. Dera refused to make further comment on the development.
UPDS spokesperson Munthi Pursive, who was present in the press conference, said that both UPDS and the Assam government are unanimous on one point, that is, if the KLNLF defectors are not accommodated, the breakaway faction will regroup themselves and start a trigger-happy life by forming a new outfit. He said that the KLNLF cadres who have defected will be counted as UPDS cadres from now on.
Arak Rongpi, the �commandant sergeant major� who left KLNLF, justified his choice of joining the UPDS by saying �I do not believe that in the next 20 years there will be another peace accord. We are happy and encouraged to see the achievement of UPDS�.
Mirdan Rongpipi, one of the former female KLNLF cadres, expressed the belief that UPDS would usher in peace in Karbi Anglong. Munthi Pursive, on the other hand, informed that any number of KLNLF cadres can join the UPDS till the latter decommissions its arsenal and disbands its regiment.