United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS)
The United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) was formed in March 1999 with the merger of two terrorist outfits in Assam's Karbi Anglong district, the Karbi National Volunteers (KNV) and Karbi People’s Front (KPF).
The outfit signed a cease-fire agreement for one year with the Union Government on May 23, 2002. However, this led to a split in the UPDS with one faction deciding to continue with its subversive activities while the other commenced negotiations with the Government. Currently, there are two factions: pro-talks and anti-talks. On May 16, 2004, the UPDS (Anti-Talks) rechristened itself as the Karbi Longri North Cachar Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF) and its armed wing as the Karbi Longri North Cachar Hills Resistance Force (KNPR).
Kiri Rongphar was the founder ‘chairman’ of the outfit. He was arrested on October 22, 1999. On August 22, 2002, UPDS 'commander-in-chief' Long Kumar Kiling died of injuries sustained during a feline attack in the forests of Karbi Anglong district.
At present, the outfit is headed by its Chairman Longder Singner alias H E Kathar and General Secretary Haren Sing Bey. T Nongloda is the outfit's Publicity Secretary and Lindok Ronghang its Finance Secretary.
The total cadre strength of the UPDS is estimated to be a little more than 150, of which at least 50 are believed to be armed with sophisticated weapons.
Areas of Operation
The outfit's main area of operations is in the Karbi Anglong district, with a relatively minor presence in the North Cachar Hills district.
The outfit is known to have grown with the active assistance of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM), which provied it with arms and ammunition. It is reported to have procured arms and ammunition from Bhutan and Bangladesh.
Abductions for ransom and extortion are the main sources of income for the UPDS. The outfit generates a considerable amount of revenue by targeting the ginger producing Kukis in the Singhason Hills area. The non-Karbi traders are also targeted for extortion.
The outfit held six rounds of peace talks with the State and Union Govenrment representatives between 2002 and 2006. Tha last round of talks was held on July 26, 2006. Subsequently, the outfit pulled out of the talks process complaning of lack of progress on its core demands.
The outfit's cadres are lodged in one Govenrment guarded designated camp at Diphu with 60 cadres, two main camps and several sub-camps.
Note:Compiled from news reports and are provisional.