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Dimasa National Liberation Army (DNLA)

”GS Paper – 3: North East Insurgency”

Why in the News?
46 cadres of the Dimasa National Liberation Army (DNLA), along with Commander-in-Chief Mushrang, laid down arms in Assam’s Dima Hasao district to join the mainstream.

About DNLA

  • A relatively new insurgent group, the DNLA, operating in Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong districts, was formed in 2019.
  • A release by the group at the time of formation said it was “committed to revamp the national struggle and fight for the liberation of a sovereign, independent Dimasa Nation”.
  • It aimed to “develop a sense of brotherhood among the Dimasa and also to rebuild the trust and faith among the Dimasa society for regaining the Dimasa Kingdom”.
  • The group had run on a model of ‘extortion and taxation’ and was believed to have drawn its support and sustenance from the NSCN(IM) of Nagaland.About Dima Hasao.
  • Dima Hasao was a hotbed of insurgency in 1994-95 and again in 2003-2009, but has been largely peaceful in the last decade. DNLA was the newest group to have taken up arms in Dima Hasao.

About Dimasa Tribe

  • The Dimasa tribe is an indigenous, ethnolinguistic community living in Assam and Nagaland.
  • The Dimasa peoples are the inhabitants of North Cachar Hills Autonomous District Council (now Dima Hasao), Karbi Anglong Autonomous District Council, Cachar District, Nagaon District of Assam and the Dhansiri region of Nagaland State.
  • The Dimasas ruled this vast tract with Dimapur (now in Nagaland state) as their capital.
  • According to the 2011 Census, the (Dimasa) Kacharis belong to the Indo-Mongoloid (Kirata) group which includes the Bodos and their allied tribes.
  • They have prominent Mongoloid features.
  • They call themselves Bodo or Bodo-fisa in the Brahmaputra valley and Dimasa or Dimafisa or ‘sons of the great river’ in the Dima Hasao & Karbi-Anglong district.
  • The 2011 Census puts the total population of Dimasa Kacharis in Assam at 1,02,961, and the total number of Kacharis in Nagaland at 13,034 — totalling 1,15,997 across both states.

About Dimasa kingdom

  • The Dimasas (or Dimasa-Kacharis) are the earliest known rulers and settlers of Assam and now live in Dima Hasao, Karbi Anglong, Cachar, Hojai and Nagaon districts of central and southern Assam, as well as parts of Nagaland.
  • Prior to Ahom rule, the powerful Dimasa kings — believed to be the descendants of the rulers of the ancient Kamarupa kingdom — ruled large parts of Assam along the south bank of the Brahmaputra between the 13th and 16th centuries.
  • Their earliest historically known capital was Dimapur (now in Nagaland), and later Maibang in North Cachar Hills.

Significance of DNLA’s Surrender

  • They were the last active militant group in the district and as of now, no more groups are active. So their surrender is a step towards peace.
  • This was especially significant because the hill districts have had a long history of militancy.

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