A major militant outfit in Assam, Dima Halam Daoga (DHD), disbanded on Saturday after almost two decades of arms struggle, with all its cadre laying down weapons at a “homecoming ceremony”.
All 691 armed cadre of the DHD (Dilip Nunisa faction), including 37 women, laid down weapons before state and central government officials. The other faction, led by Jewel Garlosa, had given up arms in 2009. The homecoming was the culmination of the rebels signing the “Dimasa Accord” with central government.
“We formed the DHD because we thought Dimasas have been neglected and deprived. It’s sad that the DHD will be history from today. But, we will now float the Halali Progressive Group, a democratic organisation, to press for the fulfillment of our demands,” DHD chairman Dilip Nunisa said.
The DHD was formed in 1994 to fight for a “Dimaraji” state. The outfit’s demand has been the incorporation of parts of Nagaland, besides Karbi Anglong and Nagaon districts of Assam, with Dima Hasao to form Dimaraji. The DHD signed a ceasefire agreement with the central government in 2003 but it soon caused a split with Jewel Garlosa and others parting ways to form DHD (J).
The disbanding of the DHD as a militant group is viewed as a significant development given what the people had gone through for years when the outfit held the “backward” district to ransom thereby hindering peace and development. But peace may, perhaps, still remain a far cry.
“We can only hope that peace will return. But given the aspirations of other tribes, peace, perhaps, can’t be guaranteed,” Kecanny Hmar, a student, told DNA. “Most younsters have gone astray. So, we can’t predict what the future holds for us,” retired teacher Somnath Upadhyay, 71, said.
Infrastructure besides education suffered most during the height of insurgency in the district. However, Dilip Nunisa is optimistic about a rosy future. “Our demands are genuine. So, we hope that the government will fulfill them in letter and spirit,” he told a 5,000-strong crowd that also included the leaders of several militant groups in the region which have entered into ceasefire with the government.
Later, Nunisa said they would continue their democratic movement for the creation of Dimaraji state. The HPG has also kept options open to fight autonomous council elections.