GUWAHATI, Jan 24 � In one of the biggest surrender ceremonies, 668 militants belonging to nine militant outfits of the State laid down arms before the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram at Nabin Chandra Bordoloi indoor stadium complex at Sarusajai here this morning.
Of the nine outfits, six are Adivasi outfits, while the rest are Kuki groups and their demand mostly revolves around granting of ST status.
The militant outfits after laying down arms also submitted their charter of demands to the Home Minister and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
The militant outfits include Adivashi People�s Army(APA), All Adivashi National Liberation Army(AANLA), Santhal Tiger Force (STF), Birsa Commando Force, Adivashi Cobra Military of Assam(ACMA), Kuki Liberation Army(KLA), Hmar People Convention(D), United Kukigam Defence Army(UKDA) and the Kuki Revolutionary Army.
The outfits today surrendered 201 numbers of arms and ammunition which inlcuded AK series rifles.
Ceasefire agreements with these nine outfits had been signed earlier and negotiations to address their demands and grievances are in the final stages.
Speaking on the occasion, the Union Home Minister said, �Today is a historic day and not often do we get to witness a day where nine militant outfits lay down their arms and return to the path of peace and reconciliation and brotherhood.�
Chidambaram while asserting that the Government of India is committed to address the grievances and urged the militants to play their part in nation building.
The Union Home Minister expressed his gratitude to the cadres, especially the young ones, for paying heed to the advice of their respective leaders and deciding to abjure violence.
Chidambaram, while lauding the efforts of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, said: �What we are seeing today would have been impossible without the vision, wisdom and statesmanship of Gogoi. He has redeemed the faith of the people who voted the Congress party to power for the third consecutive term.�
He went on to assure the cadres that they will be given equal status and honour in the society like any other citizen.
�Like any other citizen, you all are also entitled to peace and harmony and all the differences could be solved through talks,� he said.
�In the last few years, we have managed to reach out to a number of militant groups be it pro-talk ULFA, DHD(J), NDFB or KNLNF. All these developments mean that soon the remaining underground outfits will also come to the negotiation table and join the path of peace and development.
The arms laying down ceremony was also attended by Chief Secretary NK Das, Home Commissioner Jishnu Baruah, GOC 4 Corps Lt General Shakti Singh, GOC 3 Corps, DGP JN Choudhury, ADGP (SB) Khagen Sarma and Deputy Commissioner (Metro) Ashutosh Agnihotri.