The National Investigative Agency on Saturday said that insurgent groups banned in India are operating out of Myanmar to carry out attacks in violence-Manipur on security forces and members of opposing ethnic groups.

The statement came a day after the central agency arrested a “trained operative” of the People’s Liberation Army of Manipur, a separatist group, from Imphal. He has been identified as 45-year-old Moirangthem Anand Singh.

The NIA said that Singh was arrested in a case related to a “transnational conspiracy” by Myanmar-based terror outfits to “wage a war against the Central government” by exploiting the ethnic unrest in Manipur. A spokesperson of the agency said that the case was registered on July 19 in Delhi.

“Investigation so far has revealed that in furtherance of the conspiracy hatched by the leadership based in Myanmar…proscribed terrorist organisations are recruiting OGWs [over ground workers], cadres and sympathisers to augment the strength to carry out attacks on security forces and opposing ethnic groups by exploiting current unrest in Manipur,” the spokesperson said. “And for this purpose, the Myanmar-based leadership are collecting arms, ammunitions and explosives by unlawful means, including plunder and pillage of government facilities and resources.”

Singh was among the five persons arrested by the security forces in Imphal on September 16 for allegedly carrying sophisticated firearms and wearing camouflage uniforms. They were charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act as well as under sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Their arrest had led to widespread protests by the Meira Paibis, a Meitei women’s collective, and other groups in Imphal. They had claimed that the five armed men were village volunteers. On September 21, the groups had stormed police stations in Imphal, demanding the release of the five men. This forced the authorities to reinforce a full curfew in the district.

The five men were granted bail by a local court the next day. However, soon after he was granted bail, Singh was again arrested by the NIA and brought to Delhi.

Over 200 people have been killed since the conflict broke out between the Meiteis and the Kukis in Manipur on May 3. Nearly 60,000 persons have been forced to flee their homes. The state has reported cases of rape and murder, and mobs have looted police armoury and set several homes on fire despite the heavy presence of central security forces.

Also read: The return of Meitei insurgents marks a new turn in Manipur conflict