They were accorded a warm reception by Chief Minister N Biren at a ‘home coming ceremony’ held at 1st Bn Manipur Rifles banquet hall today.
It is reported that the surrender was effected through Assam Rifles with the support of Eastern Command Intelligence Unit.
The militants who laid down arms today included 17 of UNLF, 23 of KCP, seven of PLA, 10 of PREPAK, four of KYKL and seven of PREPAK (Pro).
However, only seven/eight weapons reportedly brought by the militants were displayed at the ceremony saying that other weapons were being verified by police.
Speaking at the home coming ceremony, Chief Minister N Biren assured that all the militants who have joined the mainstream would be fully protected.
The State Government has already formulated an appropriate surrender policy and it is awaiting approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Violence never brings any good except destruction and turmoil.
All contentious issues and discords can be resolved through dialogue, Biren stated.
Noting that there are some hardcore militants who have been fighting against the Government for more than 30 years among the people who laid down arms today, the Chief Minister welcomed all of them who have returned to the mainstream after reposing their faith in the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Already there was a surrender policy for the State but it has been reviewed as it is no longer suitable to the changing situation.
A new policy has been formulated in its place and the same has been forwarded to the Ministry of Home Affairs for approval.
As of now, all the militants who have joined the mainstream would be protected by the State Government with its own resources.
The Government is committed to ensure that they enjoy all the rights and opportunities entitled to any citizen, Biren asserted.
Peace is very much needed in Manipur for the State is lagging behind other parts of the world in every aspect of development.
Investors based outside the State are reluctant to invest in Manipur because of violence and subversive activities.
“No one can outdo Manipur provided we can exploit our resources and the talents of youth to their full potential”, Biren asserted.
He assured that a nodal officer would be nominated to look after the welfare of the militants who have now shunned violence.
The Chief Minister then called upon all the people to cooperate with each other, restore peace and protect the integrity of Manipur and India collectively.
PLA’s hardcore leader Brigadier Jame alias Uttam said that he joined RPF/PLA in 1979.
In spite of the long years of armed struggle, no concrete foundation could be laid.
In the course of the long armed conflict, many security personnel have been killed and a large number of civilians have died but nothing positive has been achieved, Jame said .
It would be better for the militant groups to talk with the Government of India regarding their grievances and aspirations rather than waging a sustained armed struggle, he said.
There are many big rebel groups in neighbouring Burma with more than 10,000/20,000 cadres.
But they have signed ceasefire pacts and started political dialogue with the Government of Burma.
People’s misery would never end as long as there is armed rebellion.
As done in Burma, it would be better if the rebel groups of Manipur too sign a ceasefire pact with the Government of India and initiate a dialogue process.
One PREPAK cadre said that he joined PREPAK in 1996 with an objective to liberate Manipur.
But many leaders are now focusing their attention on personal aggrandisement and they have been paying little heed to the suffering of combatants.
One UNLF cadre said that he spent a considerable length of time as a rebel but nothing positive could be achieved.
He said that he was laying down arms after reposing faith in the NDA Government.
He urged the Government to protect them and also provide a source of livelihood.
There were four women among the 68 militants who laid down arms today.
Source: The Sangai Express