Talks of Peace in Manipur in 2013

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By Chitra Ahanthem

(contd)

*Imphal, July 12, 2013:* Police have issued strict instruction to leader of KCP-MC (Lallumba) group, Lallumba to report immediately to the Joint Monitoring Group.KCP-MC (Lallumba) group today met the Chairman of the Joint Monitoring Group.

*Imphal, July 14 2013:* A self styled Corporal (Army no.1525) of UNLF reportedly surrendered to the troops of Red Shield Division along with one 9 mm pistol today.

*Imphal, July 15 2013:* Representatives of Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) and United People`s Front (UPF), an umbrella body of several Manipur-based Kuki militant outfits resumed their meeting on Monday. The UPF was represented by leaders of United Kuki Liberation Front (UKLF), Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA), Kuki National Front-P and Hmar People`s Convention-Democratic (HPC-D) .In the meeting, the UPF side urged the JMG side for regular payment of stipend (Rs 3000 for each cadre) to the militants belonging to the umbrella organization, a highly placed official source said.

*Jiribam, July 17 2013:* Altogether 45 cadres of the underground United Tribal Liberation Army (UTLA), including its Chairman, SK Thadou, have surrendered during a simple `Home Coming ceremony` held today at Inspection Bungalow, Kadamtala, Jiribam before the Joint Secretary (NE), MHA, Govt of India, Shambu Singh who described the ceremony as another big step towards peace initiative and appealed to all the underground groups to abjure the path of violence and join the mainstream. Lauding the efforts of the stakeholders involved in the process of surrender, Shambu Singh also said that the home coming of the cadres shows that peace and normalcy is not very far from the State while asserting that the Central Govt would be seriously looking into the developmental issues and ensure implementation of necessary works. SK Thadou, Chairman of UTLA said that they have laid down arms as they desired peace. The cadres have also surrendered 42 arms during the ceremony. The surrendered arms included nine 9mm pistols; two .32 pistols, six 9mm carbine, one UZI (9mm), two shot guns, six Rifle Bolt Action, three AK-47 rifles, one AK-56 rifle, two M-16 rifles, one 40mm lathod and nine country made guns while the ammunitions surrendered included six rounds of 9mm pistol, 41 rounds of AK-47 rifle, 15 rounds of M-16, six long cases of .38, 19 rounds of 7.62mm and two lathod bombs.

*Imphal, July 23 2013*: KRA(U) has pledged not to collect money from the public in any manner henceforth. Notably KRA(U) is a constituent member of KNO, one of the two conglomerates of Kuki armed groups under tripartite SoO involving both the Centre and State Government.

*Imphal, July 25 2013:* Chief Minister O Ibobi has put forward certain possibilities to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India with regard to some demands of the NSCN-IM which may serve as cornerstones for a solution to the protracted Indo-Naga political dialogue. To a proposal put up by the Union Home Minister to set up an apex body for Manipuri Nagas under appropriate Act like the Naga Hoho of Nagaland Nagas so that Manipuri Nagas can preserve and promote their own customs and traditions, the Chief Minister suggested that the existing Acts may be amended to protect the interests of tribals settled in the State of Manipur.

*Imphal, July 25 2013:* The UPPK has informed the people that it has stopped all fund collection activities since it signed an MoU with the Govt of India and the Govt of Manipur on May 24 last. Any monetary demand served in the name of UPPK to departments or the general public should not be entertain-ed, said a press release issued by the outfit`s deputy secretary finance and external affairs Poirei Mangang.

*New Delhi, August 01 2013:* A new special scheme for surrender-cum-rehabilitation of militants in the State has been framed and implemented with effect from December 1, 2012. Under this scheme, the benefits/incentives include immediate grant of Rs 2.5 lakh, monthly stipend of Rs 4000/- for 36 months, incentives for surrendered weapons, imparting vocational training to the surrenderees and establishment of rehabilitation camps for surrenderees. This was stated by Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde while addressing a press conference at New Delhi today.

*Imphal, August 01 2013:* Registering stiff opposition to the proposed plan of the Govt of rehabilitating/stationing surrendered UG groups in the hill areas of the State and appealing the concerned authority to retract the plan, the United Peoples Front (UPF), a party to tripartite SoO pact, warned of launching operation against anybody if the appeal of the front is not heeded and the State Govt should bear the responsibility of the outcome. A statement issued by the Information and Publicity Secretary of the UPF, C Robinson Thadou pledged that the front would not remain silent if any surrendered groups are given settlement in its areas viz Chandel, Churachandpur and Sadar Hills, whether it be for temporary or permanent. Pointing out that the hill based revolutionary groups are into ceasefire pact with the Govt for 7 years with the hope of finding an acceptable political solution, it rued that no concrete step has been taken up by Govt as per the aspiration and hope of the Kuki based UGs.

*Imphal, August 02 2013:* An activist of PREPAK (PRO) of Kumbi Uchalungmang, Kumbi under Bishnupur district reportedly surrendered to the Red Shield Division alongwith one 7.62 mm Pistol and one magazine today according to a PIB Defence Wing press handout.

*Imphal, August 07, 2013:* United Revolutionary Front (URF) has clarified that the outfit was not involved in structuring counter revolutionary strategies in Manipur. A press statement issued by its Information and Publicity Secretary Sanajaoba Meitei, the outfit claimed that URF was not a part of the SoO agreement as stated by Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde. Saying that the first press statement which informed about formation of the outfit to the general public was issued by URF GHQ on January 8, 2012, Sanajaoba Meitei said that the outfit had never recognised anybody who was lodging in jail as its cadre. He further clarified that URF has no connection with the enrolment of jail inmates by a self styled leader of KCP (MC) to his group. He further clarified that URF does not have any connection with the inking of SoO on the lines of setting up of SULFA in Assam to counter ULFA.

*Imphal, September 04 2013:* In all 12 cadres of six insurgent organisations surrendered to the Government along with arms at a simple ceremony held this evening at the Chief Minister`s Secretariat. The surrenderees include six from PREPAK(Pro), two KYKL cadres, and one each from the PREPAK, PLA, UNLF and KCP (Lamyanba Khuman) outfits. The weapons handed over to the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh comprised two 9 mm pistols with 20 rounds, nine hand-grenades with detonators, two IEDs, one AK-56 rifle with two magazines and an AK-47 rifle with magazine and 221 rounds. In his brief address on the occasion, the CM expressed that past references to surrenderees as `misguided youths`, might be a misnomer for it is very much possible that “individuals who took the forbidden path might have conceived that it would bring betterment to Manipur” . Assuring security and well-being to those who decide to give up the path of violence and join the mainstream, he also appealed to the surrendered cadres to contribute their mite in restoring peace and promote overall development of Manipur.

*Imphal, September 05, 2013:* The suspension of operation (SoO) between the Kuki outfits and the Government has been extended for another one year as per the tripartite meeting held at Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi on August 30 last. The two umbrella organizations of Kuki outfits namely United People`s Front (UPF) and Kuki National Organization (KNO) agreed to the extension of SoO agreement for a period of another one year. During the meeting, the UPF questioned the Central Government about the delay in the appointment of interlocutor. Joint Secretary (Home) Shambu Singh said that all necessary procedures and files have been sent to PMO and the interlocutor would be announced as soon as the PMO sends the approval. With the signing of the seventh SoO extension, UPF increased its membership by one with Kuki Revolutionary Front (KRF) joining in. It was also unanimously agreed in the meeting that cadres who break away from their parent organizations which are under SoO agreement, such factional groups shall not be allowed to join the SoO with the State and Centre in future.

*Imphal, September 06, 2013:* Three Kuki UG groups and KCP (Nongdrenkhomba) would lay down arms before the Government on September 9. So far, 33 different UG groups have been brought under either of Suspension of Operation (SoO) pact or some sort of ceasefire agreement. According to a high-ranking official of the Home Department, more than 100 cadres of four different UG groups would join the mainstream at a formal function scheduled to be held on September 9 at 1st Bn Manipur Rifles. Till date, 24 UG groups have signed SoO pact while three constituent members each of URF and KCP (Lamphel), two groups of KYKL-MDF and UPPK have signed similar agreements with the Government for initiating dialogue, informed the source.

(A longer and referenced version of this text is being included in the eighth annual report of Armed Conflicts in South Asia collated and undertaken by the Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi)*

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