Sepahipara: From fear zones to places of tranquility - Tripura`s border villages have
undergone a dramatic transformation over the last decade or so.
Kidnapping for ransom, extortion and torture were almost the rule rather than exception during the days of insurgency in the late 80s to the early years of this century, residents
of this sleepy little town of Sepahipara on the border with Bangladesh recalled.
``When the darkness descended, the nightmare began,`` Buddhi Debbarma, a villager said.
``Just five to six years ago, gun-toting ultras would forcibly enter our houses to force us to pay money or kidnap family members for ransom,`` Buddhi said. Now they could move
freely, he said.
Another villager Pritish Debbarma said how the only school in the village was closed and the markets were open for just a few hours a day. The employment generation schemes were not available because government officials dared not visit the village fearing insurgent attack.
This is not the story of Sepahipara only, but of hundreds of other villages as well.
As many as 7,992 insurgents belonging to different organisations, including the outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura and All-Tripura Tiger Force, have surrendered
to the authorities in the last 17 years, Tripura Director General of Police Pranay Sahaya said.