The Dimasa National Liberation Army (DNLA) has laid down arms and joined mainstream at Dima Hasao district of Assam.
The DNLA was a new militant group that was formed in 2019 and operated in districts of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao.
The objective of the group was to restructure the national struggle and fight for the liberation of a sovereign, independent Dimasa Nation.
For regaining the Dimasa Kingdom, it aimed to develop a sense of brotherhood, faith and trust among the Dimasa.
It received support and sustenance from NSCN (IM) of Nagaland. It operated on the model of extortion and illegal taxation.
The group came into spotlight when they were believed to have been involved in the killing of five truck drivers in Dima Hasao district in 2021.
Reasons for coming over-ground
The leader of the group came over-ground to hold meeting with Assam CM. They signed a suspension of activities agreement.
About 40 cadres have laid down their arms in a public function. About 300 more militants are waiting for their surrender.
The Dimasas live in central and Southern Assam in the districts of Karbi Anglong, Hojai, Nagaon, Dima Hasao and also in Nagaland.
They are one of the earliest settlers of Assam. The Dimasa kings ruled large parts of Assam along the south bank of the Brahmaputra between the 13th and 16th centuries, prior to Ahoms.
They are said to be descendents of Kamrup Kings. Their earliest capital was Dimapur (Nagaland) and later Maibang in North Cachar Hills.
Militancy in these areas peaked during 90s as a demand for separate state. Currently, the two districts of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao are protected under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
Significance of surrender
The DNLA was the last active armed group in the region. With their surrender, violence has been temporarily reigned in.
The surrender also comes at a time when major Bodo and Karbi militant groups have joined mainstream politics.