Two militant outfits join SoO bandwagon

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IMPHAL, March 25: “I don’t know what kind of ideology they follow, I have absolutely no idea but most of the groups today have been operating today to make money and make the life of people miserable. We don’t know if they have any ideology”, Shambu Singh, joint secretary (NE), Home stated in answer to a media question regarding the ideologies of militant outfits under SoO.

He was interacting with a group of media persons on the sidelines of signing a tripartite agreement for Suspension of Operations with United Tribal Liberation Army, UTLA and Pakan Re-Unification Army, PRA under the umbrella group of Kuki National Organization and the state and centre at the 1st Manipur Rifles Officers’ Mess hall this evening.

Further replying to a question regarding the involvement of SoO signatory groups in the just concluded state Assembly election, and if the government has intimated the Ministry of Home Affairs on the issue, he stated, “We have got reports of interference during the general election particularly in Saitu and probably Saikul, these two places we received reports, we are clear in our minds that any serious violation of the SoO arrangement will result in breakdown of the SoO, and we will take actions. We are dealing very firmly with each and every group now. The government is not going to tolerate any nonsense”.

In reply to a question if the government keeps a tab on the head-count of the cadres of SoO signatories, the joint secretary home minister said, “Atleast once in a month” and added “We have found on several occasions that several cadres are missing”.

He also added that disciplinary actions are taken up against such erring cadre if found.

When asked if the government had any plans of holding talks with KCP (Lalheiba) group, Shambu ignored replying with a simple “no comments”.

It may be mentioned that a reliable source had informed IFP that Lalheiba who is currently lodged at Sajiwa Central Jail had indicated towards a proposal for talks from the government side. The source further said, Shambhu Singh had met the militant leader at the jail on Friday evening.

During the signing of SoO agreement, a total of 95 UTLA cadres with 55 weapons and 22 PRA cadres with 17 weapons had decided to come abroad and joined the mainstream.

While Sambhu Singh had represented the central government during the signing of the SoO, the state was represented by chief secretary, DS Poonia, principal secretary Home, Binod Kispota, state DGP R Baral, Addl DGP LM Khoute.

The militant outfits were represented by KNO spokesperson Seilan Haokip, UTLA president Seipu alias Ishael, UTLA general secretary Siehzahau T Singsit, UTLA army chief K Robert Singson, UTLA home secretary Thensei Singsit, UTLA defence secretary Boboi Singson, PRA commander W Jecky Anal and defence secretary PRA Teisong Haokip.

According to a press statement of the Home department of the state government, UTLA and PRA as constituents of KNO have agreed to abide by the ground rules in consonance with the existing one.

The cadres of the two outfits will be accommodated at the designated camps of KNO and will be entitled to a monthly stipend based on attendance in the camps.

The operational area of UTLA is the areas adjoining Tamenglong and Churachandpur inter-boundary and Jiribam sub division while PRA is operational in Chandel district, the statement added.

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