States & UTs

    Manipur tribal MLAs slam 'biased' resolution seeking abrogation of pact signed with Kuki militants

    The Hawk
    March1/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    Manipur Tribal MLAs Criticize State Assembly's Resolution on Suspension of Operations Agreement with Kuki-Zo Groups

    The Manipur Assembly

    Churanchandpur: Ten tribal MLAs of Manipur have condemned the “biased” resolution passed by the state assembly urging the Centre to abrogate the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement with all the Kuki-Zo underground groups.

    The SoO pact was signed by the Centre, the Manipur government and two conglomerates of Kuki militant outfits – Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and United People’s Front (UPF). The pact was signed in 2008 and extended periodically thereafter.

    In a statement, the 10 legislators belonging to the Kuki Zomi Hmar communities MLAs said, “It is a one-sided resolution emanating from prejudice, bias and hatred for our community that reflects a myopic view on the issue.”

    Of the MLAs, seven belong to the ruling BJP, two are from the Kuki People’s Alliance (KPA) and one is an Independent. They were not present in the assembly when the resolution was passed.

    The statement said that as part of the SoO pact, a Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) comprising representatives of central and state government agencies, the KNO and UPF was formed to oversee adherence to the Ground Rules.

    “We would like to question whether the resolution adopted by the august House was based on any report or observations of the JMG, which is the only official mechanism to determine whether any violation of the Ground Rules has taken place or not,” the statement read.

    The agreement was lauded as the harbinger of peace in the state when it was signed in 2008 and Manipur, particularly the hill districts, has witnessed a sea change in the security scenario as the level of violence came down drastically in the years that followed, it said.

    “The recent signing of a peace accord with a UNLF faction was initiated by the state government, and the role played by this outfit during this short period in the current violence is widely known to one and all,” the statement said.

    The UNLF (P) on November 29 last year became the first Meitei armed group in the Imphal Valley to enter into a ceasefire agreement with the government and agreed to renounce violence. However, allegations have been raised that its cadres were involved in violence after signing of the pact.

    At least 219 people have been killed in ethnic strife in the state since May last year. The violence erupted on May 3 after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

    Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mainly in the hill districts.