Sources in Aizawl interpreted this development as an indication of the beginning of yet another round of showdown between the Mizoram government and the HPC militants, who had pulled off a daring ambush on the 1st India Reserve Battalion in September 2008, killing four of its personnel.
They were identified by the Cachar police as the commanders of the HPC (D) army.
Lalropuia and his deputy Biaknunga were picked up from Kumbhirgram airport as soon as the duo landed there from Imphal, by a joint team of Mizoram and Cachar police.
Booked under Section 387 IPC, the rebel commanders were quickly taken to Aizawl for their 15-day remand to Mizoram police following their appearance before a court.
The police sources in Aizawl today said the cases have been registered against them at Darlawn police station in the northeast of Mizoram.
Their arrests had taken place at a time when the ground was paved for a meeting between the rebel leaders and an all-party delegation of Mizoram in Hmarkhawlien, a Hmar hamlet in Cachar district on its border with Manipur, on Monday, for identifying a possible solution to the rebel outfit.
Condemning the sudden arrest of these Hmar commanders, a spokesman for the HPC (D), Zosangbera, told this correspondent over phone from Manipur last night that such high-handed action was a cowardly act.
Zosengbera urged the Hmar population in Mizoram, which is around 5 lakh, not to panic over this unseemly development.
“Hmars have been at the receiving end in Mizoram for over two decades, but we have vowed to endure such treatment for our future salvation,” he said.
Describing such arrests as a betrayal of trust by the state government, the spokesman made it clear that they would not be cowed down by such high-handedness of the Mizoram government.
Home department officials in Aizawl said the arrests were a big blow to the militant body.
They said the preparatory phase of the proposed peace parleys between the state government and the HPC (D) in 2010 was deadlocked, as the outfit insisted that an American national of Hmar origin and an evangelist in Illinois, US, Rochunga Pudaite, should be included in its delegation for the talks.
However, the Mizoram government raised its objections against the presence of this clergyman, as he is not an Indian national.
To pave the way for such peace talks, the Mizoram government declared the suspension of operations against the Hmars on August 22, 2008, after it signed a ceasefire pact with the HPC(D).
At least two rounds of dialogues between the Mizoram government and the HPC(D) leaders were fixed on November 11, 2009, and January 14, 2010, but these could not take place as the HPC (D) continued to insist on the presence of Rev Pudaite.
Mizoram home minister R. Lalzirliana said the HPC (D) was not abiding by the truce agreement by flouting the provisions of the surrender of arms by these rebels.