Thirty-four of the 60 MLAs in Manipur adopted a resolution on Sunday seeking to revoke the Suspension of Operations with Kuki militant groups.

The MLAs also urged the Centre to replace the Assam Rifles with other security forces “that have the ability to act”.

The Suspension of Operations agreement was signed between the Centre, the Manipur government and two conglomerates of Kuki militant outfits – the Kuki National Organisations and United Peoples Front – in 2008.

Under the agreement, the security forces as well as the militant groups are prohibited from launching operations. The militant groups must abide by the laws of the land and are also confined to designated camps identified by the Central government.

According to the MLAs, the agreement and the immunity it provides to the armed groups from central forces “are the main cause of the never-ending cycle of violence” in Manipur.

“Thus SoO... should be abrogated immediately,” the legislators said in a joint statement. “It should not extended beyond its expiry date of February 29, 2024.”

The agreement has a one-year duration and has been extended yearly.

The MLAs also demanded a “complete disarmament of all illegal arms in the possession of miscreants and unauthorised persons in the entire state at the earliest by the Central and state forces”.

“Armed attacks [using sophisticated weaponry such as Rocket Propelled Grenade launchers] on Indian soil, Indian citizens and state security forces by Myanmar-based armed Militants must be stopped at all costs,” said the statement. “It will be to the detriment of the prestige of the Republic of India if this cannot be achieved in short order.”

Alleging that the Assam Rifles were “mute spectators” when civilians were being fired upon, the MLAs said that the central paramilitary forces need to be replaced with “forces that have the ability to act by returning suppressive fire”.

“Such a reaction, which is wholly appropriate to safeguard the lives of civilians under fire, has been non-existent, which is why the public’s faith and trust in the forces presently deployed at places such as Moreh, Bishnupur, Imphal West, Kakching among others has been shattered,” read the statement.

This comes as a team from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs arrived in Manipur on Monday and is expected to meet Kuki-Zo and Meitei civil society groups. The officials will also meet representatives of the radical Meitei group Arambai Tenggol, reported The Hindu.

The meetings are aimed at brokering an amicable solution between the two communities.

Manipur has been gripped by ethnic clashes between the Meitei and Kuki communities since early May. Over 200 people have been killed since the conflict broke out and nearly 67,000 persons have been forced to flee their homes.