on March 12, 1989, National Liberation Front of Tripura
(NLFT) aspires to establish an ‘independent’
Tripura by launching an armed struggle against the Indian
State. The outfit was initially formed by disgruntled
cadres of the Tripura National Volunteers (TNV) led
by Dhananjoy Reang.
The outfit’s profile has undergone changes as
a result of several splits. One of the major splits
occurred in February 2001, following which two factions
of the outfit were headed by Biswamohan Debbarma and
Nayanbasi Jamatiya. The latter faction, however, surrendered
en masse to the Tripura police. Following a failure
in the negotiations, Nayanbashi alone left the camp
and went back to Bangladesh to start afresh an armed
struggle. His cadres, however, stayed back and benefits
of the surrender scheme of the state government have
been extended to them.
The top leadership of the NLFT faction headed by Biswamohan
Debbarma is based in Bangladesh. Headquarters of the
outfit is located at Sajak in the Khagrachari district
of Bangladesh. The outfit also maintains several of
its camps in that country. A poor caricature of its
old days, NLFT carries out intermittent hit and run
attacks in Tripura. Such activities, in recent times,
have been reported only from the Dhalai and West Tripura
NLFT, throughout its existence, is known to have maintained
linkages with several other insurgent groupings such
as ULFA, NSCN-IM. In recent times, strategic linkages
with the ATTF have also been reported. NLFT also has
linkages with Pakistan’s ISI and Bangladesh’s
DGFI, both being the external intelligence agencies
of these countries.
After the Awami League party came to power in Bangladesh
in December 2008, it started a crackdown on the insurgent
outfits of India based in Bangladesh. On 29 November
2009, NLFT supremo Biswamohan Debbarma was arrested
by personnel of Director General Force Intelligence
(DGFI), the Bangladeshi intelligence agency from a posh
area of Dhaka. This was a big blow for the outfit. Many
cadres of the outfit also surrendered, with 53 cadres
surrendering in 2009. At present the cadre strength
of NLFT is believed to be less than 50 but it has been
trying to recruit new cadres.
The All Tripura Tribal Force, precursor of the All
Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF), was founded on July 11,
1990. Ranjit Debbarma led a group of disgruntled Tripura
National Volunteers (TNV) cadres, who had dissociated
themselves from the Lalit Debbarma-led faction. The
Lalit Debbarma faction had signed an accord with New
Delhi and surrendered. In 1992, the ATTF was renamed
after substituting the word ‘Tribal’ with
The purported objective of ATTF is to expel all Bengali-speaking
immigrant settlers who entered Tripura after 1956, restore
land to tribals under ‘Tripura Land Revenue and
Land Reforms Act’, 1960 and remove names of migrants
who entered Tripura after 1956 from the electoral roll.
Ranjit Debbarma is the President of ATTF. Other office
bearers include Vice President Chitta Debbarma alias
Bikash Koloi, Organisation Secretary Upendra Debbarma,
Publicity Secretary Malinjoy Reang. The outfit’s
cadre strength has dwindled drastically over the years.
Current strength of ATTF is estimated to be around 200.
Past recruitment drives of the outfit have not been
very successful in roping in young cadres. The outfit
carries out hit and run attacks within Tripura and in
recent times, its activities have been reported mostly
within West and Dhalai districts.
Like the NLFT, the ATTF’s top leadership is based
in Bangladesh. The outfit’s headquarter is located
at Tarabon in Bangladesh. Besides the outfit maintains
several camps/ safe houses in Bangladesh where it houses
and trains its cadres.
Outside Tripura, ATTF maintains linkages with the ULFA,
Khaplang faction of the NSCN, the Manipur based PLA,
UNLF and PREPAK. Inside Tripura, the ATTF either formed
or was associated with several peripheral terrorist/criminal
outfits such as the Tripura Tribal Youth Force (TTYF),
the Tripura Liberation Organization (TLO), the Tripura
Young Rifle (TYR), the Tripura Lion Force (TLF) and
the Tripura National Army (TNA). Most of these groups,
however, are no longer operative.
In April 2004, ATTF outlined three conditions for the
beginning of a process of dialogue. The conditions were:
1. Those who had entered Tripura after 1949 and whose
names did not figure in the voters’ list of 1952
should be declared as foreigners.
2. The issue of sovereignty must figure in the negotiation
3. A representative of the Unrepresented Nations and
People’s Organisation (UNPO)—a non-government
global body seeking to represent the interest of indigenous
communities worldwide—should be present during
the peace talk.
These conditions were however, rejected by the State
government and no development on this front have taken
place since then. ATTF also has a political wing called
the Tripura Peoples’ Democratic Front (TPDF).
According to surrendered militants of ATTF, the outfit
has taken the initiative to raise a force of women cadres
in 2010. These women cadres are being trained in ATTF
camps in Bangladesh. They are being trained in the use
of arms, tactics of guerrilla warfare and even the technique
of making bombs.
Borok National Council of Tripura (BNCT) was formed
in September 2000 by Jogendra alias Joshua Debbarma.
It was formed as a result of a split in NLFT due to
differences between the Halam and Debbarma tribal members
of the NLFT.
BNCT had been marginalized within the first few years
of its operation. The NLFT helped in its revival since
2006 and it now manages the abduction and extortion
activities of NLFT, mainly in the North Tripura and
Dhalai districts. It is also involved in recruiting
tribal youths into the NLFT.