All Tripura Tiger Force
The All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) was originally founded as All Tripura Tribal Force on July 11, 1990, by a group of former Tripura National Volunteers (TNV) terrorists, who under the leadership of Ranjit Debbarma dissociated themselves from a faction of the TNV led by Lalit Debbarma which surrendered arms in accordance with the August 1988 Accord concluded between the TNV and the Union government.
According to the ATTF, the outfit rechristened itself as All Tripura Tiger Force by substituting the word ‘Tribal’ with ‘Tiger’ sometime in 1992.
It was initially a small group of tribal extremists who operated in pockets of North and South Tripura districts. Gradually, it began mobilising manpower by recruiting tribal youth and enhancing the firepower of its cadres. And by year 1991, it emerged as a formidable terrorist group in Tripura.
However, more than 1,600 cadres surrendered by March 1994, under an amnesty scheme offered by the State Government. A group of ATTF cadres which did not surrender revived the ATTF. It was subsequently banned in April 1997 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
Over the years, the ATTF either formed or was associated with fringe terrorist/criminal groupings such as the Tripura Tribal Youth Force (TTYF), the Tripura Liberation Organization (TLO), the Tripura Young Rifle (TYR), the Tripura Lion Force (TLF) and the Tripura National Army (TNA). Most of these groups, however, have ceased to exist.
According to the available literature, the outfit’s objectives are:
Leadership and Structure
The outfit is headed by its President, Ranjit Debbarma. Chitta Debbarma alias Bikash Koloi is the Vice-President and Upendra Debbarma is its Organisation Secretary. Malinjoy Reang functions as the outfit’s Publicity Secretary, while Subodh Debbarma is its Communication Secretary. Asit Debbarma is the outfit’s Finance Secretary.
According to State police sources, the community-wise break-up in the ATTF is as follows. Debbarma- 70 per cent, Jamatia- 10 percent, Reang- 10 per cent, Tripuri – 5 per cent and others- 5 per cent. About 90 per cent of the top ranking ATTF cadres are Hindus and the rest are Christians.
The political wing of the ATTF – Tripura Peoples’ Democratic Front (TPDF) – has reportedly set up a parallel government in the remote areas of the State.
The outfit's cadre strength is reported to be about 600.
The ATTF headquarters is located at Tarabon in Bangladesh. It also serves as the makeshift headquarters of Arabinda Rajkhowa, chairman of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).
ATTF cadres are reported to have received training in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh and the outfit has a number of bases there. More than 70 per cent of ATTF cadres are reportedly located in Bangladesh.
Ranjit Debbarma, the ATTF President, has taken refuge in Bangladesh. According to official sources, he is known to have bought a four-storied building in Dhaka in the second half of year 2003. He also owns a motor garage and also runs a travel network in Dhaka.
On September 22, 2003, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar disclosed the location of 16 ATTF camps/ safe houses operational in Bangladesh. They are:
Over the years, the ATTF has established linkages with other terrorist groups operating in India’s northeast, such as:
Dialogue for Peace
The ATTF has resisted official attempts for a negotiated settlement of the insurgency. On April 22, 2004, however, the outfit’s ‘President’, Ranjit Debbarma, laid down three conditions for the peace process to commence:
The move was welcomed by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar. However, no progress in this front has taken place thus far.