Assam's militant outfit shuns bullets for ballots



After fighting for close to two decades, Assam's insurgent outfit, Dima Halam Daogah (DHD), is now planning to fight the battle of the ballots.

Over 2,000 cadres of the armed and civil wing of the DHD, led by its chairman Dilip Nunisa, formally disbanded the outfit Saturday at a public meeting in Dima Hasao's district headquarters Haflong.

"We have decided to come overground in response to the peace offer of the government of India and after realising that the problems of the district can be solved over talks and not by armed revolution," Nunisa told cadres.

Nunisa said that they would participate in the forthcoming elections to the Dima Hasao Autonomous council. "We are almost sure that we are going to participate in the polls. We will take a final decision tonight (Saturday) about participating in the council polls, scheduled in next few months," he said.

However, Nunisa said: "Our movement for Dimaraji will continue. The only difference is that it would be a democratic movement now against the armed movement of the past."

DHD's new democratic group, Halali Progressive Group (HPG), will coordinate with the government of India and its cadres.

Dima Hasao is the third largest district of Assam and is inhabited mostly by tribals.

Peace is necessary for the district as a railway line, which passes through the district, is the lifeline for the people of Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Barak Valley of Assam. Plans to extend railway lines to the three states had been affected during the last 18 years due to insurgency in Dima Hasao.

Formed in 1994, DHD had been fighting for Dimaraji, a separate state for the Dimasa community. The outfit had signed ceasefire pact with the central government in 2003 and restricted themselves to the four designated camps in different parts of the district. - IANS