Hundreds of rebels lay down weapons in India state

Jan 24, 2012, 11:11 AM

Associated Press

GAUHATI, India (AP) – Hundreds of rebels in jungle fatigues lined up to surrender their weapons Tuesday as several local insurgent groups formally joined a cease-fire with the government in a step toward ending three decades of insurgency in northeastern India.

The 676 fighters who handed over weapons to authorities at a sports stadium in the Assam state capital of Gauhati are members of nine of the more than 20 ethnic rebel groups fighting the government in the remote northeastern state.

More than 10,000 people have been killed since 1979 when the insurgents began fighting for greater autonomy for their ethnic groups in Assam. However, over the past two years, the groups have begun to reach cease-fire accords and enter peace talks with the government.

Tuesday’s event in Gauhati brought the number of groups in talks to 15, leaving about a half dozen still fighting.

Senior army and police officers stood by as Home Minister P. Chidambaram assured the ex-fighters they would be embraced back into society.

“We shall make sure each one of you are able to enjoy equal rights now that you have shunned violence,” Chidambaram said.

He said the government was close to signing comprehensive peace deals with some of the groups, but did not elaborate. Previously, the government has said it is open to discussing demands for more autonomy in areas including civil administration, finances and cultural rights.

“All differences can be settled through talks, consultations, efforts and endeavors,” the home minister said.

Among the 15 ethnic rebel groups now negotiating peace in Assam is the largest and first to take up arms, the United Liberation Front of Asom. Its cease-fire deal, signed in September, calls for the government to shelter thousands of its disarmed rebels while peace talks are held.

The rebels have argued over the years that Assam’s indigenous people _ most of whom are ethnically closer to groups in Myanmar and China than to the rest of India _ are ignored by the federal government 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) away in New Delhi.

They also accuse the Indian government of exploiting the northeast’s rich natural resources _ complaints that are echoed by dozens of other ethnic rebel groups demanding autonomy in neighboring Indian states.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who reportedly died in prison on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, i...

Associated Press

Alexei Navalny, galvanizing opposition leader and Putin’s fiercest foe, died in prison, Russia says

Alexei Navalny, the fiercest foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin, died Friday while incarcerated, the country's prison agency said.

14 days ago

Britain's King Charles III and Queen Camilla leave The London Clinic in central London, Monday, Jan...

Associated Press

Britain’s King Charles III has cancer and is receiving treatment

Britain's King Charles III has been diagnosed with a form of cancer and has begun treatment, Buckingham Palace announced Monday.

25 days ago

A resident flees an encroaching forest fire in Vina del Mar, Chile, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024. Officia...

Associated Press

At least 46 reported dead in Chile as forest fires move into densely populated central areas

Intense forest fires burning around a densely populated area of central Chile have caused at least 46 deaths, Chile's pesident said Saturday.

27 days ago

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with a payload including two lunar rovers from Japan and the United Arab ...

Associated Press

Unmanned Japanese spacecraft successfully makes soft landing on moon

Japan became the fifth country in history to reach the moon when one of its unmanned spacecrafts successfully landed on the lunar surface.

1 month ago

Associated Press

Israeli Cabinet approves cease-fire with Hamas; deal includes release of 50 hostages

Israel’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a cease-fire deal with the Hamas militant group that would bring a temporary halt to a devastating war.

3 months ago

Palestinians leave their homes following Israeli bombardment on Gaza City, Monday, Oct. 30, 2023. (...

Associated Press

Israeli airstrikes crush apartments in Gaza refugee camp, as ground troops battle Hamas militants

A flurry of Israeli airstrikes Tuesday on a refugee camp near Gaza City leveled apartment buildings, leaving craters where they once stood.

4 months ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.


Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Hundreds of rebels lay down weapons in India state