SoO pact expires, but ground rules to stay in force, MHA officials to arrive soon
Blockade suspension on menu, KNO positive
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, November 21 2012: The two umbrella organisations of the Kuki armed groups, the KNO and the UPF, which are signatories to the SoO pact have assured the Additional Director General of Police, LM Khaute that they would urge the Kuki State Demand Committee to call off the public blockade.

The response of the two groups came during a meeting held at Churachandpur today.

Concurrently even as the SoO pact is set to expire tomorrow, the ground rules will still be in force, to pave the way for the State Government to lobby with the Centre to start a political dialogue with the KNO and UPF.

Exuding confidence of a positive outcome, the senior police officer informed The Sangai Express that during the meeting, the efforts taken up by the State Government to pressurise the Centre to start a political negotiation was made clear.

"The two groups were appreciative of the efforts taken up by the State Government to start a political negotiation and they assured that the question of lifting the public blockade would be discussed soon with the KSDC," said Khaute.

File pic of a designated camp of a group which is a signatory to the SoO pact
File pic of a designated camp of a group which is a signatory to the SoO pact

A formal notification on the status of the public blockade is however yet to be known till the time of filing this report.

In another development, the KNO has reviewed its decision of abrogating the ongoing SoO pact with the Government.

The deadline given by the KNO was November 22 .

The KNO said the Kuki State Demand Committee (KSDC)'s stand of continuing the agitation "can be suspended now" as the Government of India had assured to start the dialogue after the Winter session of Parliament.

In an exclusive interview with Newmai News Network this afternoon at an undisclosed location, KNO spokesman Seilen Haokip said, "We have waited for seven years to begin the dialogue and now the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has conveyed its position through the Government of Manipur that the process to work out the modalities for dialogue should begin any day after the Parliament Session.

I think this is quite enough and the KSDC should suspend their agitation now.

"We are satisfied with the assurance from the Union Home Minister to begin the dialogue after the ensuing Parliament Session," said Seilen Haokip.

Officials from the Union Home Ministry will also be arriving soon to meet leaders of the KNO and UPF, said Khaute and added that in the intervening period of the State Government approaching the Centre and the Union Home Ministry officials coming here, the ground rules of the SoO pact will be in force.

About 14 days time was the period given to the 'intervening period' .

Once the modalities are worked out during the intervening period, the SoO pact will be extended formally, he added.

The SoO pact came into force between the Kuki armed groups and the Centre in 2005 and the State Government entered the pact in 2008 .

Earlier Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam had met the Union Home Minister to press for the start of a political with the Kuki UG groups under the SoO pact.

During a press conference held at Delhi some time back, the spokesperson of the KNO had stated that if a determined date to start a political dialogue is not spelt out soon then there would be 'no more signing' of the pact after it expires on November 22 .

The SoO pact was to be in force for 3 months.

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