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Manipur’s 40 lawmakers urge Centre to complete disarmament of militants to end violence

A 'separate administration' as demanded by the ITLF/Kukis is absolutely unacceptable under any circumstances.

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Imphal: For the first time, forty lawmakers of Manipur Wednesday urged the Central government to complete the disarmament of militants to foster an environment of peace and security in the state.

“For the immediate establishment of security, simple deployment of forces is inadequate. Although it’s imperative to halt the violence in the peripheral areas, complete disarmament is the key to achieve this goal,”  a representation signed by the 40 lawmakers which was submitted to the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi,  said. 

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As expected, 10 MLAs belonging to the Kuki community abstained from signing in the letter. Seven BJP MLAs including two ministers in the current Biren Singh-led government – Nemcha Kipgen and Letpao Haokip, two from Kuki People’s Alliance (KPA) and one Independent have been advocating for a ‘separate administration’ since the violent ethnic clashes erupted on 3 May 2023 in Manipur. 

Out of the 40 signatories, six are from the Naga community and the rest are from the Meitei community. 

Citing examples of firing using sophisticated military-grade arms by militants against farmers, the representation said that confiscation of all weapons belonging to insurgent groups and illegal armed foreign forces and those snatched from the state machinery needs to be carried out. In many cases, these firing incidents have occurred in the presence of Central security forces (CSF) which have failed to react appropriately. They (CSF) need to adopt a more proactive approach to ensure lasting peace in the region, it added. 

Regarding deployment of forces, the Assam Rifles (9, 22 and 37) need to be transferred from their present location of deployment while trustworthy Central forces along with state security can replace them to sanitize and neutralize to neutralize and sanitize the whole area of any and all threats to peace, security and stability, the lawmakers said in the representation. 

Withdrawal of SoO

The letter also asked the Central government to withdraw from the Suspension of Operations (SoO) Agreement with all those who have violated the ground rules at the earliest to remove any disadvantages for the central Forces with regard to the rules of engagement with these threats. 

There has been large-scale foreign infiltration with arms and ammunition into the state. So, the Central forces should proactively engage with them. There has been a non-stop conflict between the State/Central forces and these insurgent armed groups In the state for the last 3 months.

The source and funding of these sophisticated arms & ammunition needs to be investigated, keeping in view of how the conflict has lasted for the past three months, and the arms continue to arrive into the state, the letter detailed. 

Implementation of NRC

The issue must be addressed politically in order to resolve this crisis of conflict. There are many options that can be explored. On one hand, to reassure the indigenous people of Manipur, the National Registrar of Citizens (NRC) can be implemented in Manipur, sooner rather than later. Biometric registrations of Immigrants have started. It should be expanded and strengthened. 

No Separate administration

There is a most important point that must be made. A ‘separate administration’ as demanded by the ITLF/Kukis is absolutely unacceptable under any circumstances.

Strengthening of ADC’s

To reassure all communities, the MLAs urged the Central government to consider strengthening the Autonomous District Council (ADC), and conducting regular elections (which have not been taking place) to the Hill Arca Committee (HAC) and the six existing Autonomous District Councils (ADCs).

Peace talk

After the above-mentioned actions are fulfilled, the necessary peace talks can be initiated and deliver a lasting solution to the ongoing crisis, the representation concluded.

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