On the historic day coinciding with the 72nd death anniversary of father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, over 1,500 members from all factions of militant outfit named National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) today laid down their arms paving a new chapter of peace and development in the region.

Altogether 1,615 insurgents comprising 836 from NDFB(P), 579 from NDFB (RD) and 200 from NDFB (S) participated in the ceremony to surrender a total number of 178 weapons which was organised at the city’s GMCH auditorium in presence of Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, State senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Bodoland territorial authority chief Hagrama Mohilary with other dignitaries.

“Bodos are very hard working and brave. I welcome all the members of Bodo-dominated militant groups to the mainstream society and urge them to work for all round development of Bodoland territorial region and Assam,” said Sonowal asserting that development of the Bodos would bring development to the entire State.

He also assured that a comprehensive rehabilitation policy for the surrendered rebels would be formulated for providing employment opportunities to them so that they could make meaningful contributions to the nation building process. Stressing on the need to work unitedly for the peace and development of Assam, Sonowal urged the surrendered militants to bring about rapid development of the region cutting across plains and hills, Brahmaputra and Barak valleys through hard work and dedication while utilising their potential to the fullest.

He also invoked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s importance on the northeastern region to make it the new engine of growth for the whole country while identifying the region as Astalaxmi. Thanking PM Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah for their initiative to bring permanent peace to the region, he also appreciated the roles played by Sarma and Mohilary for bringing this process to fruition.

Saying that the accord between the Bodo groups and the governments in New Delhi and Dispur signed in New Delhi on 27 January would further strengthen the unity and integrity of Assam, Sonowal commented that peace is a must for bringing development to the region. He added that the peace initiative has been welcomed by all sections in the society.

Speaking on the occasion, Sarma urged all armed outfits including United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) again to come to talks with the government for bringing permanent peace to the State. He also informed that PM Modi is expected to visit Kokrajhar on 7 February to grace a ceremonial program on the signing of Bodo peace agreement.

Besides Mohilary, ABSU president Pramod Boro, State ministers including Keshab Mahanta, Pramila Rani Brahma, Naba Kumar Doley, several legislators, responsible government officials were also present on the occasion, where everyone hoped that the initiative would bring long lasting peace and development to the region.