As many as 68 rebels of the United A’chik Liberation Army in Meghalaya on Thursday surrendered before the authorities, marking the disbanding of the tribal Garo rebel outfit.
The rebels surrendered along with their firearms before Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and Home Minister Roshan Warjri here in West Garo Hills district.
“We gave up the path of violence after realising that there cannot be peace in the Garo Hills with firearms,” Novembirth Marak, the chairman of the disbanded UALA, said.
“We are happy to rejoin the mainstream. We believe that society will accept us and allow us to live peacefully,” he said.
Sangma said: “The outfit responded to the government call. We will provide them an enabling atmosphere to grow. There are several welfare programme of the government; we will guide the cadres to reap the benefits.”
The Chief Minister urged governments in other north-eastern states to replicate the Meghalaya government’s model to tackle insurgency.
Warjri reminded the rebels of the non-violent statehood movement that led to the carving of Meghalaya out of Assam in 1972.
UALA, formed in 2012, signed a peace agreement with the government on December 18, 2015 after a series of parleys in the past one and a half years.