A total of 360 cadres of Dima Halam Daogah (Jewel Garolsa faction), led by its self styled commander-in-chief Niranjan Hojai and deputy commander-in-chief Daniel Dimasa, on Friday formally deposited their arms at a ceremony at Haflong, headquarter town of southern Assam’s North Cachar Hills district.
The cadres handed over 148 weapons, which they had deposited at different police stations of the district before moving into designated camps, at the surrender ceremony.
Both Niranjan Hojai and Daniel Dimasa handed over their M-16 rifle each to Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. The cadres then presented their arms to police and Army officials. Each of the DHD (Jewel) cadre was presented a traditional Dimasa scarf and a rose.
The event, which coincided with Gandhi Jayanti, marked the beginning of a peace dialogue between the DHD (Jewel), also known as Black Widow, and the government. The outfit’s demands include creation of an autonomous State, changing the nomenclature of the N.C. Hills district to Dima Hasao Raji, release of the jailed DHD (Jewel) leaders and cadres, an increase in the number of Assembly seats from the present one seat to 10 seats, introduction of an inner line permit system and rehabilitation of the cadres.
Speaking on the occasion, Hojoi expressed the hope that the State and Union governments would reciprocate positively to their demands soon. It was heartening to note that Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram had expressed the Centre’s willingness to resolve the Dimasa problem if the DHD(Jewel) shunned violence and came forward for dialogue. The DHD (Jewel) decided to reciprocate by shunning the path of violence and working for solving the problem through peaceful dialogue, he said.
The Dimasas were was a liberal community and always accommodating other communities. “There should not be any apprehension in the minds of other minority communities. Each and every community will continue to enjoy all democratic and constitutional rights,” he added.
Mr. Gogoi said the day would go down as an important day in India’s history as the DHD (Jewel) cadres had decided to follow the ideals of non-violence of Mahanta Gandhi. He promised to give a big push to the development activities in N.C. Hills district, which he described as the most backward district. The government would facilitate special recruitment drive to rehabilitate the DHD (Jewel) cadres and members of other outfits who come forward to give up violence.
The DHD (Jewel) action would set an example not only to outfits such as the United Liberation Front of Asom and the National Democratic Front of Boroland, but also to the entire country, he added.