Imphal, Aug. 10: The Manipur government and the Centre are trying to include four more factions of the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) in the ongoing peace process.
Official sources here said home ministry and Manipur government officials met leaders of the factions headed by Taibangangba, Lamphel, City Meitei and Pakhanglakpa in New Delhi recently and the leaders agreed in principle to sign a ceasefire agreement.
The first round of meetings, which was convened in Delhi to discuss the modalities of the ceasefire, was attended by the four rebel leaders along with Manipur principal secretary, home, Suresh Babu, home ministry joint secretary Sambhu Singh and a senior official of Manipur police.
The meeting also reportedly discussed setting up of designated camps for cadres of the four groups. The groups are, however, yet to submit cadre strengths.
Intelligence sources here said the four leaders were holding consultations outside the state so as to take a final decision. One or two leaders of these groups are expected soon in Imphal to take the peace process forward and also finalise the modalities of the talks and ground rules with government officials.
With this, the number of KCP factions accepting the peace talks offer by the government has gone up to six. The KCP (Military Council) faction, headed by Lalheiba Meitei, who was arrested in Guwahati and freed from Imphal’s Sajiwa jail on July 13 to pave the way for peace talks, was responsible for detonating a car bomb on the Imphal Raj Bhavan premises in September 2009 and another bomb at a gambling den at Ragailong here in October 2008, killing 17 people.
Lalheiba is now at an Assam Rifles camp.
Lalheiba was followed by another KCP faction headed by Lallumba, who signed a ceasefire pact and is waiting for the peace talks to start. The group had signed a suspension of operations agreement in 2010.
The four other factions would be joining the peace process at a time when both the state and central governments are gearing up to initiate formal talks in Delhi with KCP Lallumba group and more than 20 Kuki rebel groups. Though the Kuki groups under two umbrella bodies — Kuki National Organisation and United Peoples Front — signed the suspension of operations agreement in 2005, talks are yet to begin.
Official sources said the tripartite talks with the Kuki groups would be held in Delhi soon while the talks with the Lallumba group would be held in Imphal.
Senior Assam Rifles sources said intense pressure by the security forces on the groups had paved the way for the peace process.