One of the militants said he was forced to join the outfit against his will. “Actually they (militants) come to the village and held a meeting...and they decreed that from every house one should join the group...and so even though we wanted to go to school...how do we go and thus had to join the group," said Jonathan Phanso who laid down his arms. A recent bomb blast in which a passenger train was targeted was attributed to the KNLF. At least three people died while more than 30 were injured in the blast.
Army officials said the KNLF was on the run after the security forces inflicted heavy casualties on them.
“I think it is a very good sign and this only proves our perception of KLNF. Our perception of KLNF is that they are also on the run. They are desperate to…I mean I would rather say a fair amount of damage has been caused to them by security forces. They are just trying to show their presence by their latest activities and this is to tell the government that we exist and therefore please negotiate with us but I guess this is a passing phase," said Major General Prakash.
The KNLF, active in Karbianlang district had targeted Hindi-speaking people last year. The group is fighting for more political autonomy of the Karbi tribesmen in the oil-rich, tea-growing state.
India's northeast, comprising eight states and home to over 200 ethnic and tribal groups, is racked by separatist and tribal insurgencies, some fighting for independence and some for more political rights.