Imphal, Sept. 9: About 155 cadres belonging to four militant groups laid down arms and surrendered before chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh here today.
Around 147 militants belonging to the Kangleipak Communist Party (Nongdrenkhomba), Kuki National Liberation Front (KNLF) and Kuki Revolutionary Front (KRF) had approached various units of the Assam Rifles before today’s “homecoming” programme. Eight cadres of the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) also laid down arms during the programme.
The militants laid down 95 weapons of different make.
The KNLF, KRF and KCP (Nongdrenkhomba) signed agreements for entering the peace process.
Principal secretary (home) Suresh Babu said 50 cadres of the KNLF who laid down arms today would come under Kuki National Organisation, an umbrella body of Kuki militant groups having Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement with the state and central governments.
The 53 KRF cadres will come under United Peoples Front (UPF), also an umbrella body of Kuki militant groups having a similar SoO agreement, while 44 KCP (Nongdrenkhomba) cadres will temporarily stay at an Assam Rifles post before being sent to a designated camp.
With the surrender of KCP (Nongdrenkhomba), eight factions of the KCP have entered the peace process.
Official sources said more than 30 militant groups have entered the peace process since 2008.
In official records, there are about 40 militant groups in Manipur. However, major groups like the Peoples Liberation Army, United National Liberation Front and the Peoples Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak have not responded to the peace process.
Welcoming the rebels back to the mainstream, Ibobi Singh expressed hope that the others would soon realise the futility of violence and join the mainstream one day.
“Because of the problem of militancy and law and order, the pace of development is not satisfactory. Peace is a must for all-round development,” the chief minister said.
He suggested that instead of pursuing an armed struggle, those still in the jungles should come forward, point out the wrongs in the system and join the democratic process to correct the wrongs and bring all-round development in the state.
Ibobi Singh cautioned groups in the peace process against violating ground rules and indulging in criminal activities. “We have reports of ground rule violations and the government will not remain silent. We will review the agreements if the ground rule violations continue.”
Suresh Babu termed today’s surrender as a milestone in the Centre and state government’s efforts to bring lasting peace in Manipur.