IMPHAL, September 9: Altogether 155 cadres of four militant outfits based in the state laid down their weapons before the state government to join the peace process today during an official “Home Coming ceremony” at 1st Manipur Rifle Banquet Hall.
The militant groups are Kuki National Liberation Front (KNLF), Kuki Revolutionary Front (KRF), Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) Nongdren Khomba group and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL).
50 cadres of the KNLF came with 35 weapons, 53 cadres of KRF brought 30 weapons, while 44 cadres of KCP (Nongdren Khomba) gave up 26 weapons.
Another eight cadres belonging to the KYKL led by s/s sergeant Ak Basantakumar also laid down four arms, though they did not sign any agreement like the others.
While the KNLF and KRF signed the Suspension of Operation; the KCP (Nongdren Khomba group) signed a `Memorandum of Understanding` with the state and central governments.
Principal Secretary Home Government of Manipur, J Suresh Babu, represented the State Government; the KNLF was represented by Chairman Helun Haokip, Army chief Thangboi Khongsai and Secretary Lalmoi Haokip while the KRF was represented by Chairman Thanglen Doungel and General secretary Henkholal Doungel.
The KCP faction was represented by its Commander in chief Ningthoujam Nongdren Khomba, Chief of army Laishram Guni.
The peace pact agreement cum home coming ceremony was attended by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh as the chief guest while Dy CM Gaikhangam who also holds the Home portfolio attended as the president.
Others who attended the ceremony included Chief Secretary PC Lawkunga, Director General of Police MK Das, cabinet ministers, MLAs and other top officials of the state police.
Speaking at the ceremony, J Suresh Babu said that the sincere efforts made by both the state and the central governments has paid off as a considerable number of militants belonging to different groups have given up the path of violence and come up to join the mainstream since the past few years.
He recalled that in similar instances, the governments have signed peace agreement recently on two counts of home coming ceremony held at the same venue as today where militant outfits KCP (URF) (Lalheiba, Sunil Meetei, and Chingkeinganba), KCP Lamphel having three groups of KCP (Lamphel, Taibangangba and City Meitei), two groups of KYKL (MDF) KYKL Athouba and Achouba and UPPK took part.
He maintained that the two Kuki militant outfits KNLF and KRF are joining a peace process through a Suspension of Operation agreement with the state and the central governments.
KNLF will be a part of KNO while KRF will be a part of UPF and cadres of both the groups will be accommodated at the existing SoO camps, he added further.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh said that many have raised their eyebrows on whether the Government is granting license to militants to kidnap and extort, by inviting them to SoO and MoUs. Making his stand clear on the perceived ideas about the peace pact, the Chief Minister said that the government will not remain as a silent spectator but deal accordingly with any groups which are found breaking the ground rules of the agreements signed.
If the need arises, the state government will seek the attention and review the agreement and cancel it, Ibobi continued.
He also appealed to other armed groups to come forward and take part in bringing peace and development in the state.
In his speech, Home Minister, Gaikhangam, said that signing a SoO or MoU, is just the tip of the iceberg adding that comprehensive development and lasting peace will only be brought about when everyone put their heads together.
He further expressed his optimism that many who are misguided would gradually choose to join the mainstream, as the Government under the leadership of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh is relentlessly working for the better of both the hills and valley without any disparity.
Speaking at the Home coming ceremony, KCP Nongdren Khomba Commander in chief said that they have joined the home coming ceremony and signed the Peace agreement after taking into consideration the desires of the people who has been yearning for peace and development in the state.
He also appealed to the state government to strictly follow the ground rule of the peace agreement and fulfill it with the signed groups.
Lalmoi Haokip, KNLF Secretary said that the cadres of KNLF who have joined the home coming ceremony were the cadres who have been suffering for seven years in the jungles of Mayanmar and stated that the signing of SoO is a landmark history for the KNLF.
He further said that the cadres of the KNLF will be able to rehabilitate themselves under the peace agreement and reunite with their families.
Altogether 95 arms and ammunition were brought by the 155 cadres of fthe our different militant groups which include Seven Ak-56 rifle, two AK -47 rifle, five Ak-22, four SLR, four Carbine, two Stain gun, six M-16, two M-15, one M-A-1, one .32 rifle, one 60mm Mortor, five lethod gun, one RPG, eleven .32 pistol, eleven 9mm Pistol, two .38 revolver, ten grenade, twelve Radio set, four .303 rifle, three single Barrel, five single barrel, two 9mm rifle, one cartoos gun, fifteen IED bomb, 977 live ammunition, 33 magazine, three motor bomb and ten lethod bomb shells.