National Liberation Front of Tripura

From Academic Kids

The National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) was formed in December 1989 for the purpose of seceding from India in order to create an independent Christian fundamentalist state of Tripura. The NLFT has conducted a systematic and violent campaign against the local Hindu and tribal population to coerce them into converting into Christianity and to secede from India.

The headquarters of NLFT is located in the Khagrachari district of Bangladesh, about 40-45 km southeast of Simanapur.

Contents

History, Funding and Church Support

The Baptist Church of Tripura was initially set up by missionaries from New Zealand in the 1940s. Despite their efforts, even until the 1980s, only a few thousand people in Tripura had converted to Christianity.

In the aftermath of one of the worst ethnic riots, supposedly engineered by the Church, the NLFT was born in 1989 with the help of the Baptist Church. Since then, the NLFT has been advancing its cause through armed compulsion.

The Southern Baptist Church has been accused of supporting this violent campaign by providing funding and arms for the group. In April of 2000, Nagmanlal Halam, secretary of the Noapara Baptist Church in Tripura, was caught providing 50 gelatine sticks, 5 kilograms of potassium and 2 kilograms of sulphur and other ingredients for making explosives to the group. Halam later confessed to buying and supplying explosives to the NLFT for the past two years.

In another incident in August 2003, police arrested the secretary of a Baptist Christian Missionary church in North Tripura District who was in possession of five kg of potassium, one kg sulphur, few gelatin sticks and 45 gm of high explosive materials.

In Tripura, such arrest and seizures of arms and explosives from the members of the Baptist church is a common occurrence and the link between the National Liberation Front of Tripura and the Southern Baptist Church has been well established. [1] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/south_asia/717775.stm)

Militancy and Violence

In order to create a Christian nation, the NLFT uses some of the most violent means to convert the remaining Hindu and tribal populations in the state[2] (http://www.stephen-knapp.com/thirteen_years_of_killings_in_tripura.htm). An estimated 11,000 have been killed on both sides of the conflict. In addition, the terror has left over 40,000 as refugees, the majority of whom are Reang tribals.

In 2001 alone, the NLFT killed more than 20 Hindus who refused to convert. They also torched to death a Hindu family sleeping in a hut.

The NLFT has also issued threats against any citizens who adhere to Indian or Hindu culture. They have used threats against people who celebrate traditional Hindu festivals such as Durga Pooja and Makar Sankranthi, listen to Indian music, watch Indian TV and films, and wear bangles or bindis.

Other Ties

Further on, NLFT is said to have links with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistanís external intelligence agency and its counterpart in Bangladesh, the Directorate General of Field Intelligence (DGFI). During 1997-98, NLFT leaders are reported to have visited Pakistan to receive training and arms from the ISI. The ISI had allegedly arranged the passport and visas for the NLFT leaders.

The Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura is generally seen as the political wing of NLFT. In fact, its formation was pushed through by NLFT by forcing various factions to unite into INPT.

Peace Efforts

In Tripura, a systematic surrender of arms by a faction of NLFT insurgents and NLFT fringe groups is due to the increased security pressure and to infighting within NLFT insurgent ranks. Since 2000 a few hundred militants have surrendered in small groups to the security forces, handing in their weapons. The NLFT leadership engaged in peace talks with Mizoram Chief Zoramthanga in April 2001, however the NLFT has not promised acceptance of any future peace process.

See also

Tripura, Terrorism, Fundamentalist Christianity, Baptist, Ethnic conflict in India

External links

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