The Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday (October 3) banned Tripura-based insurgent groups the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) along with their associates for five years for threatening the country’s sovereignty and integrity.
In a notification dated Tuesday, the Union Home Ministry said that the professed aim of the NLFT and the ATTF is the establishment of an independent nation by the secession of Tripura from India through an armed struggle in alliance with other armed secessionist organisations of the northeastern state and to incite the indigenous people of Tripura for such secession.
“The Centre is of the opinion that the NLFT and the ATTF have been engaging in subversive and violent activities, thereby undermining the authority of the government and spreading terror and violence among people for achieving their objectives,” the Ministry said.
It further said that the two groups engaged in violent and unlawful activities in pursuance of their aims and objectives in the recent past "which are prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India".
They have also been involved in the killing of civilians and personnel belonging to the police and security forces, while also engaging in extortion of funds from the public, including businessmen and traders, the notification said.
The NLFT and the ATTF have established and maintained camps in neighbouring countries for the purpose of a safe sanctuary, training, procurement of arms and ammunition etc.
The MHA said the Centre is also of the opinion that the aforesaid activities of the NLFT and the ATTF are detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of India and that they are unlawful associations.
"Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967), the central government hereby declares the NLFT along with all its factions, wings and front organisations and the ATTF along with all its factions, wings and front organisations as unlawful associations," the notification said.
NLFT is an insurgent group which was banned under the UAPA and the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The NLFT was formed with the objective to liberate Tripura from the India, and to deport all those who entered Tripura after 1956. The outfit has reportedly developed trans-border links in Myanmar and Bhutan.
The NLFT has links with the Inter Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) in Pakistan and the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) in Bangladesh, according to the reports. On August 14, 2019, nearly 88 cadres of NLFT had surrendered with arms.
About All Tripura Tiger Force
It was founded in July 1990. The group is said to have been formed as the armed wing of NLFT, however, it broke apart into its own organisation. It reportedly has links with several banned organisations. According to reports, the ATTF has carried out 7 claimed attacks and 7 suspected attacks.
The outfits, formed in 1990 with the objective of "expulsion of all foreigners who entered the state after 1956", were first banned in 1997 following large-scale ethnic riots involving tribals and non-tribals in Khowai subdivision in Tripura, in which both outfits intervened on behalf of the tribals. Tripura shares an 856-km boundary with Bangladesh.
(With PTI inputs)