IMPHAL, April 30: In what could be termed as one of the major surrender programmes of the year, 103 underground activists belonging to several militant outfits operating in the state and its neighbouring areas surrendered before the state Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh today during a ceremony organized by the HQ IGAR (S) at Mantripukhri.
The militants who surrendered unconditionally alongwith their weapons include 22 cadres of the UNLF, 20 of PULF, 9 of KYKL, 14 of PREPAK, 8 of KNLF, 10 of KCP, 9 of PLA, 4 of UNPC, 2 of NSCN (IM), 1 each of KSCN (K), UPPK and KRPA and 2 KRF.
They also surrendered nine AK rifles, one M-16 rifle, one M-21, three Lathode, one 7.62mm rifle, 25 9mm CMG, four 303 Rif/Bolt Action rifle, 47 numbers of 9mm pistols, 10 7.65mm Pistols and two numbers of 7.62 pistols.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Chief Minister said peace and freedom from crime and terrorism are catalysts for progress and development.
Further congratulating the surenderees, he said the keenness of these youths make it amply clear that the path to violence is chosen more out of compulsion than a choice.
It hardly needs to be emphazized that the younger generation has been disappointed due to lack of job opportunities and other avenues. It is extremely unfortunate to see that a large number of our yough people have felt compelled to take to arms while society needed them as the builders of the nation.
However there are several areas in the country where the youth is disillusioned and needs to embrace by society, he continued.
It is not only in Manipur that we see such a scenario. We all know what is happening in so called Naxal affected areas. Naxalites have posed a serious challenge to law and order machinery, he continued.
“While citing this example should be no consolation for Manipur, we do see a broad common trend in all such armed movements. All these movements are mainly sustained by youths. Broadly all these movements derive their justification from poverty and backwardness. It is ironical that a country which is known for its Gandhian and Buddhist traditions is increasingly beset by prolonged violent movements” the state Chief Minister continued.
While expressing his surprise over the lack of urge of dialogue on the part of the many outfits, the Chief Minister informed that several armed groups have been in peace dialogue with the Government, while many of them still choose to remain silent.
“As I have emphasized time and again there is a space for every dissenting voice in this country. Peaceful methods like elections are primarily meant for giving say to people`s aspirations” he continued.
“But a section of people perhaps does not believe in the efficacy of these democratic and peaceful means. I do not agree with such people” he added.
“Manipur has a huge social wealth in terms of its population of younger age-group having tremendous potential. But unfortunately we have not been able to harness it” the CM lamented.
He ended by congratulating the Assam Rifles for their successful act of bringing the youths to the mainstream.
The home coming ceremony was also attended by Home Minister Gaikhangam,Chief Secretary DS Poonia, DGP Ratnakar Baral, IGAR (S) Maj Gen UK Gurung.