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Over 100 militants of Mizoram’s last active rebel outfit lay down arms

Guwahati :Over 100 militants of Hmar People’s Convention-Democratic (HPC-D), Mizoram’s last active rebel outfit, surrendered and laid down arms at an official function near the state capital Aizawl.

The ‘home coming’ ceremony of the rebels including its leaders and cadres at the Central Training Institute, Sesawng, 39 km from Aizawl, was attended by Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla and several senior dignitaries.

The surrender and laying down of arms, which follows the signing of a peace agreement on April 2 between HPC-D and the state government is expected to bring lasting peace to the northeastern state.

“A total of 102 armed cadres of HPC-D and 12 civilian members of the outfit took part in Friday’s ceremony,” said senior Congress MLA Lalrinmawia Ralte, who was the chief government negotiator in the peace talks.

The surrendered militants, clad in olive green outfits, also laid down 44 sophisticated weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

According to the peace deal, the Sinlung Hills Development Council (SHDC) in Mizoram would be renamed as Sinlung Hills Council by an Act of the state legislature. The new council would have administrative autonomy.

The agreement stipulates the state government would grant amnesty to HPC-D cadres who have criminal cases pending against them and also take steps to provide relief and rehabilitation to surrendered militants.

The founder of the group – Lalhmingthanga Sanate – who heads another faction is in jail. Mizoram government says the faction isn’t strong enough to disrupt peace.

“Mizoram is a small state and can’t afford creation of another district as demanded by Lalhmingthang’s faction. They are a small gang and isn’t that significant,” Mizoram home minister R Lalzirliana had said at the signing of the peace accord.

According to the 2011 census, the Hmar population in Mizoram is 29,587. Most of them are concentrated in the north and northeast part of the state. The total population of the state is 10.91 lakh.