national liberation front of corsica

National Liberation Front of Tripura

The National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) was formed in December 1989 for the purpose of seceding from India in order to create an independent state of Tripura. The NLFT has conducted a systematic and violent campaign for secession from India. It was declared as an unlawful organization under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in 1997. Due to their activities, they were declared by the Government of India as a terrorist organization under the Prevention of Terrorism Act in 2002.

Militancy and Violence

An estimated 11,000 people have been killed on both sides of the conflict. In addition, the terror has left over 40,000 as refugees.

History, Funding and Church Support

The Government of the state of Tripura has uncovered evidence to support the assertion that the Baptist Church of Tripura has been funding the terrorists. According to reports, the Church has been forcing local tribals to convert to Christianity The Baptist Church of Tripura was initially set up by missionaries from New Zealand in the 1940s. Despite their efforts, even until the 1980s, only a few thousand people in Tripura had converted to Christianity. In the aftermath of one of the worst ethnic riots, the NLFT was born in 1989—allegedly with the help of the Baptist Church. Since then, the NLFT has been advancing its cause through armed rebellion.

Activities

Indian Government officials have accused the Baptist Church of Tripura of supporting this violent campaign by providing funding and arms for the group. In April 2000, Nagmanlal Halam, secretary of the Noapara Baptist Church in Tripura, was caught providing 50 gelatine sticks, 5 kilograms of potassium and 2 kilograms of sulphur and other ingredients for making explosives to the group. Halam later confessed to buying and supplying explosives to the NLFT for the past two years

In another incident in August 2003, police arrested the secretary of a Baptist Christian Missionary church in North Tripura District who was in possession of five kg of potassium, one kg sulphur, few gelatin sticks and 45 gm of high explosive materials .

Pornography

Recent investigations, as well as confessions from surrendered members, have revealed that the NLFT have been making and selling pornography to finance their activities. This includes DVDs of pornographic films made by the group with tribal men and women kidnapped and forced to participate in sex acts while being filmed. The movies are dubbed into various languages and sold illegally throughout the region for a profit. The women have also been sexually abused by NLFT members

Other Ties

The Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura is generally seen as the political wing of NLFT. In fact, its formation was pushed through by NLFT by forcing various factions to unite into INPT. NLFT is working closely with other North-Eastern Indian insurgent groups such as the United Liberation Front of Asom for liberation from India. (see Insurgent groups in Northeast India)

Peace Efforts

In Tripura, a systematic surrender of arms by a faction of NLFT insurgents and NLFT fringe groups is due to the increased security pressure and to infighting within NLFT insurgent ranks. Since 2000 a few hundred militants have surrendered in small groups to the security forces, handing in their weapons. The NLFT leadership engaged in peace talks with Mizoram Chief Zoramthanga in April 2001, however the NLFT has not promised acceptance of any future peace process.

Split

In February 2001, the NLFT split into two groups, one headed by Biswamohan Debbarma and the other by Nayanbasi Jamatiya.Nayanbasi Jamatiya and Joshua Debbarma, two NLFT members, were expelled from the group and a parallel outfit was formed under the leadership of Jamatiya. The split occurred because of multiple reasons:

  1. Reluctance of the Central Executive Committee of NLFT led by Biswamohan Debbarma to nominate Joshua Debbarma as the King of ‘Tripura Kingdom’;
  2. Misappropriation of funds by senior leaders;
  3. Lavish lifestyles led by the senior leadership; and
  4. Forcible conversion of tribal cadres/civilians to Christianity.

Jamatiya and Debbarma have been heading two factions since 2001. In June 2003, ‘General Secretary’ Mantu Koloi was reportedly made leader of the Biswamohan faction.Earlier, internal bickering within the NLFT had led to a spate of violent internecine clashes in Tripura and at the outfit's camps in Bangladesh. Senior leaders such as Utpanna Tripura and Mukul Debbarma are believed to have been killed in such violence. However, other leaders of the undivided NLFT included ‘Vice President’ Kamini Debbarma, ‘Publicity Secretary’ Binoy Debbarma, ‘Chief of Army’ Dhanu Koloi, and ‘Finance Secretary’ Bishnu Prasad Jamatiya. While the Debbarma faction reportedly has an estimated strength of 550 cadres, the Nayanbasi faction comprises approximately 250 cadres. 90% of the NLFT's top leaders are Christians.

See also

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