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Protest in Kangpokpi over Manipur resolution to suspend agreement with Kuki-Zo militants

A 24-hour bandh was observed in tandem with the protest against the Assembly's push to end the Suspension of Operations agreement. Demonstrators also called for the reinstatement of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in the valley districts due to the 'alarming' law and order situation

Umanand Jaiswal Guwahati Published 05.03.24, 09:19 AM
The CoTU rally in Kangpokpi on Monday

The CoTU rally in Kangpokpi on Monday Sourced by The Telegraph

A rally was staged in Kuki-Zo majority Kangpokpi town on Monday in protest against Thursday’s “one-sided” Manipur Assembly resolution recommending to the Centre the abrogation of the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement with all Kuki-Zo militant outfits.

A 24-hour shutdown in Kangpokpi district from 10am was observed in tandem with the protest against the Assembly resolution. Demonstrators also called for the reinstatement of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in the valley districts due to the “alarming” law and order situation since January.


Organised by the Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU), a prominent Kuki-Zo organisation spearheading relief and protest initiatives in the district following the ethnic strife between the Kuki-Zo and Meiteis that erupted last May, both the rally and the shutdown, although peaceful, disrupted normality.

Protesters carried banners and chanted slogans censuring the BJP-led government and the Assembly’s resolution on the SoO groups, highlighting once more the profound schism precipitated by the ongoing conflict between the Kuki-Zos, primarily dwelling in the hill districts, and the Meiteis, predominantly residing in the valley districts.

The SoO was inked with 24 Kuki-Zo militant factions in 2008, with the latest extension expiring on February 29. Valley-based civil society organisations have persistently urged for the annulment of the SoO, holding the SoO groups accountable for the ethnic discord, which has claimed the lives of at least 219 individuals and displaced over 67,000 since May 3.

Ten Kuki-Zo MLAs, confined to the Imphal valley due to security concerns, swiftly condemned the resolution, labelling it a “one-sided” decree stemming from “prejudice, bias, and animosity towards our community, reflecting a narrow-minded stance on the issue”.

Slogans such as “Manipur Assembly, Meitei Assembly”, “Manipur Assembly not for Kuki-Zo” and “Reimpose AFSPA in valley” reverberated among the protesters. A banner targeting the Assembly and the Meitei radical group Arambai Tenggol accused the Manipur Assembly of yielding to the Arambai Tenggol diktat of January 24 at the Kangla Fort in Imphal. It said SoO is “not (an) appeasement policy for the Meiteis”.

Arambai Tenggol, a Meitei radical faction, recently made headlines for assaulting and abducting a senior police official, with the police implicating the group in various criminal activities. The group had on January 24 also “summoned” Meitei MLAs and MPs to the Kangla Fort to administer the oath of protecting Manipur’s integrity.

CoTU spokesperson Kaiminlen Sitlhou expressed their discontent with the “one-sided resolution” to terminate the SoO pact “in the absence of our ten Kuki-Zo MLAs in the people’s House”. He accused the administration of deliberately misusing state institutions, including the Assembly, to “mislead” the populace.

“The Manipur Legislative Assembly should address the prevailing law and order situation in Imphal rather than focusing on the SoO. AFSPA is as necessary in the valley districts as the SoO is in the hills,” Sitlhou asserted, urging the annulment of
the resolution.

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