In a major development seen as the end of the Bodo insurgency in Assam, the banned Saoraigwra faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB-S) is on its way to surrender and may later join the ongoing Bodo peace process, sources have said.
According to intelligence sources, at least 50 NSFB-S insurgents led by Saoraigwa have deserted their hideout in Myanmar in two batches and entered India last week. They have been kept in safehouses in Nagaland and Manipur and are being interrogated.
The two groups have been led by the outfit's chief Saoraigwra, general secretary B Ferrenga and cultural secretary I Sulung, and Dwimulu.
"Several agencies have coordinated the operation to bring them back for the past one year. Due to sustained anti-insurgency operations in Assam and their main area operation in Bodoland region, they were not getting funds and new recruits," an intelligence officer said.
"With last year's operation by Myanmar Army where northeast rebel groups had to flee their bases, these group became dependant on the independent faction of the ULFA and NSCN(K) for hideout and ration. Frustration was growing. The latest move was given by Intelligence Bureau and they have deserted the camps," the officer said.
The officer, who asked not to be named, said that while one group entered India from the India-Myanmar border at Moreh in Manipur, another larger group of about 30 people entered through the border at Longwa in Nagaland. The first group included two top rebel leaders and several others who were based in Myanmar.
This faction was earlier led by IK Songbhijit, who has now formed a separate outfit and still hold up in a hideout in Myanmar. This group had executed the 2014 massacre of over 80 tea tribe community members in northern Assam, led by G Bidai, who is believed to be hiding in Bhutan with a small group of insurgents.
"We are aware of the development and MHA (Home Ministry) is monitoring it, but the official word on this will come from Delhi as at the highest level at MHA... this operation to bring them over ground was sanctioned to the intelligence agencies. We hope they would also join the peace process," said a top official of the Special Branch of Assam Police.
The official said the commander of the group G Bidai would soon come over ground.
Military Intelligence sources who have been part of the operations said "ill treatment" of the leaders, cadres and their family members by bigger groups like ULFA(I) and NSCN(K) in the past one year while the smaller groups had to depend on the larger rebels groups, had been a ley trigger towards this desertion of Myanmar base by the NDFB-S.
The "Progressive" faction of NDFB is involved in a peace talk with the centre, which is in an advanced stage. The NDFB came into being in 1994; it signed a ceasefire with the centre in May 2005. But soon there was a split. While the faction led by Ranjan Daimary opposed the talks and remained underground, the progressive faction remained in ceasefire. Following the 2012 arrest of Daimary, the faction split again and NDFB-S was formed.