Manipur withdraws from ceasefire deal with two Kuki insurgent groups
The state government accused the Kuki National Army and the Zomi Revolutionary Army of influencing protests that took place earlier this week.
The Manipur government has withdrawn from a ceasefire agreement with two Kuki insurgent groups, accusing them of being behind protests that took place in three districts earlier this week.
The state Cabinet has decided to withdraw from the suspension of operation agreements with the Kuki National Army and the Zomi Revolutionary Army, The Indian Express reported on Saturday.
On Friday, protest rallies took place in three districts of the state – Churachandpur, Kangpokpi and Tengnoupa. In Kangpokpi, clashes took place between some of the protestors and the police.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh alleged that the Kuki National Army and the Zomi Revolutionary Army had influenced the rallies.
The protestors had demanded that the Manipur government should “respect tribal land rights” and alleged that some areas were declared as reserve forests and protected forests without their consent. They contended that the matter should have been decided by the Hill Areas Committee under Article 371C of the Constitution, which deals with special provisions for the state of Manipur.
The Manipur government, on the other hand, alleged that the protests were held to defend those who had encroached on forest land. It also said that notices had been issued to the alleged encroachers.
In its decision to withdraw from the ceasefire, the state Cabinet took special consideration of allegations that most of the persons who floated the Kuki National Army and the Zomi Revolutionary Army were not Indians, but undocumented migrants, The Hindu reported.
The government also issued show-cause notices to the district collectors and police superintendents of Churachandpur and Tengnoupal, asking them to explain why the rallies were allowed despite prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
On August 22, 2008, the Centre and Manipur government had signed suspension of operation agreements with two umbrella organisations of Kuki militants – the Kuki National Organisation and United People’s Front. The Kuki National Army and the Zomi Revolutionary Army are associated with the Kuki National Organisation.