Five insurgent groups of Assam, the Centre and the state government on Saturday signed an agreement to put an end to what Union Home Minister Amit Shah described as a “decades-old crisis” in the Karbi Anglong district.
Karbi Anglong, which is on the border with Nagaland, is one of the most backward districts in Assam. The region is a territory of Karbi tribals, who have raised a demand for a separate state.
The district has seen violence and abductions when insurgents fought for a homeland.
People’s Democratic Council of Karbi Longri, Karbi Longri NC Hills Liberation Front, Karbi People’s Liberation Tiger, Kuki Liberation Front, and United Peoples Liberation Army were the groups that signed the peace accord on Saturday.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who attended the event, described the accord as historic. He said that his administration will provide Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the next of kin of those who lost their lives in agitations related to the demand for a separate state.
He added that this was for those who had not been recompensed at all.
Sarma said that his government “will consider favourably” the proposal of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council to notify Karbi as the official language of the council. “However English, Hindi and Assamese will continue to be used for official purposes,” he said.
Sarma said that all the groups who had signed the peace deal will surrender their weapons and disband their organisations within a month of signing. “All camps occupied by these groups shall be vacated forthwith,” he said.
The Assam chief minister added that the Centre may allocate Rs 500 cr (Rs 100 cr per annum) for the development of infrastructure in the areas under the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council.
Sarma added that the state government would contribute Rs 500 crore for the development work in the area.
“The signing of Karbi-Anglong Agreement is another milestone in Prime Minister Narendra Modiji’s vision of ‘Insurgency free Prosperous North East’,” Shah wrote in a tweet. “Over 1,000 armed cadres have abjured violence and joined the mainstream of society, which reflects their trust in PM Modi ji’s leadership.”
The home minister said that a Rs 1,000-crore development package would be allocated for the Karbi Anglong region, reported PTI. “I want to assure everyone that we will implement this accord in a time-bound manner,” he said. “We not only sign peace accords but implement them within our time too.”
Shah said that since the Modi government came to power, it has ensured peace in the North East along with overall development. “We have ensured that there is all-round peace, no violence, no blast, no firing in the Northeast,” he added.
The home minister’s comment came amid simmering border tension between Assam and Mizoram. Five Assam police officers were killed on July 26 after the dispute escalated.
The dispute between both the states stems from differing views on which border demarcation to follow.