Imphal, Sept. 7: Three Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) factions which have agreed to shun violence and join the peace process may soon lay down arms as preparations for their “homecoming” are almost complete.
An official source said the three factions headed by City Meitei, Lamphel and Taibangangba had recently signed a tripartite ceasefire agreement with the state government and the Centre and had agreed to lay down arms.
The source said the “homecoming” ceremony might take place very soon.
The leader of KCP (military council), Lalheiba Meitei, was freed from jail on July 13 to set the stage for peace talks. It is, however, not clear whether Meitei’s group will attend the homecoming ceremony or not.
A “homecoming” ceremony is a euphemism for surrender, as both the Manipur government and security forces do not use the term “surrender” any more.
“They are not surrendering; they are coming home after a hard life in the jungles. We welcome all those coming back home to lead a normal and peaceful life,” a senior Assam Rifles officer said.
The homecoming programmes are usually organised by the Assam Rifles.
According to the memorandum of understanding signed recently between the three factions led by City Meitei, Lamphel and Taibangangba, all cadres of the groups would attend the homecoming programme. They will come along with their weapons and lay them down at the ceremony, which is likely to take place at the Assam Rifles headquarters located at Mantripukhri on the outskirts of Imphal.
The number of cadres and weapons, however, could not be immediately known, the source said.
According to the agreement, cadres of the three groups would stay in designated camps constructed at suitable places within six months from the day of “homecoming”. The number of camps and the locations would be finalised latter. Before construction of the camps, the cadres would be accommodated in temporary camps near either Assam Rifles or army posts.
The official said the cadres would be given a monthly maintenance of Rs 3,500 each in addition to a one-time grant of Rs 2.5 lakh each under the surrender and rehabilitation scheme.
The monthly stipend or maintenance would be given for two years and the one-time grant can be availed by the cadres after completing two years in designated camps. This means the government would take care of the cadres for two years and after that they would have to go back to their families and lead a normal life.
During these two years, the government will also make arrangements to impart vocational training to the cadres.