MILITANT GROUPS' PROFILE

1. National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT)

ormed 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 districts.

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.

2. All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF)

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 ‘Tiger’.

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 process.
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.


3. BOROK NATIONAL COUNCIL OF TRIPURA (BNCT)

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.