Aizawl/New Delhi, July 19 (IANS): A top leader of a separatist outfit operating in the Northeast was arrested by a combined team of Delhi Police and Mizoram Police from Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, a minister said today.
Hmar People's Convention-Democrats (HPC-D) self-styled chairman H Sangbera "was arrested at the airport on Tuesday night soon after he landed from (Manipur capital) Imphal by a flight via Guwahati. The militant leader was brought to Aizawl late Wednesday evening," Mizoram Home Minister R Lalzirliana said in Aizawl.
The 65-year-old HPC-D supremo was being interrogated by senior officers of Mizoram police.
The minister said that the arrested HPC-D leader has 32 cases pending at different police stations in Mizoram. "The rebel outfit also befriended the other tribal militant outfits in order to disturb peace and create violence in Mizoram," which borders Myanmar and Bangladesh, Lalzirliana added.
"The HPC-D was one of the extremist groups in Manipur that had signed a suspension of operations (SoO) agreement with the security forces in the state under the auspicies of the Union Home Ministry. However, its cadres were indulging in a series of violent and illegal activities in Mizoram."
According to Mizoram Home Department officials, Sangbera had joined the Hmar militant outfit in 2007 when there was a vacuum in its leadership as its then president Lalhmingthanga Sanate seemed to be losing interest in guerrilla warfare.
On June 10, Mizoram Police, with the help of the Assam Police, had arrested the self-styled militant chief of HPC-D Lalropuia and his deputy Biaknunga near the Kumbigram Airport in Silchar in southern Assam.
The HPC-D is a militant outfit operating mainly in Mizoram and neighbouring Manipur. It is an offshoot of the Hmar People's Convention, following a discontent with the 1992 peace agreement.
The HPC-D has been demanding a separate Hmar Autonomous District Council comprising Hmar tribal-inhabited areas in the north and north-eastern parts of Mizoram.
The Hmar tribals live mostly in the mountains of south Manipur, parts of Mizoram, southern Assam and parts of Meghalaya and Tripura, besides the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of southeast Bangladesh.
In 1987, the Hmars launched an insurgent movement, and signed a ceasefire with the government in 1992. Around 375 cadres of the outfit surrendered that year in Aizawl.