TODAY -

The Kuki-Zomi Insurgency in Manipur : Nearing Settlement
- Part 2 -

*



KRA was formed in December 2000 by a group of disgruntled cadres of the KNF-MC faction with purported objective of securing a "separate State" for the Kuki tribe within the Indian union. It has approximate cadre strength of 250. National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) was instrumental in training and arming the KRA cadres (file:///G:/CDPS,%20Manipur%20Insurgency.htm, assessed on 20 June 2010).

KLA was formally re-established in 1993 with the sole objective of safeguarding the political interest of the Kukis and their inhabited areas which purportedly claimed to have inherited from the Kuki ancestors ('KLA celebrates anniversary', IFP, 18 December 2007).

Hmar People's Convention-Democratic (HPC-D) is an offshoot of the political party, HPC, which came into existence in 1986, spearheading a movement for self-government in the north and northeast of Mizoram. The Mizo Peace Accord of 1986, failed to address their demand of a 'Greater Mizoram' integrating all areas inhabited by Hmars in Mizoram, Assam and Manipur under a single administrative unit.

Since April 1987, the HPC waged an armed struggle for autonomy. However in 1992, HPC representatives and the Government of Mizoram mutually agreed signed a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) at the Mizoram capital Aizawl on July 27, 1994, for establishing the 'Sinlung Development Council' and subsequently, 308 HPC militants surrendered along with their arms.

HPC-D was formed by a section of the HPC cadres who were dissatisfied with the implementation process MoS. The purported objective of the outfit over the years has changed from an autonomous district covering the north and northeast Mizoram to an independent Hmar State (Hmar Ram) consisting of the Hmar inhabited areas of Mizoram, Manipur and Assam. The cadre strength of the outfit is estimated to be between 100 and 150 (www.satp.org).

ZRA was formed in 1997 as an armed wing of ZRO which was formed in 1993. The purported objective of the ZRO/ZRA is to protect the interests of the Paite community from the 'onslaught of any community or group'. It further attempts "to bring all the Zomipeople, divided by artificial State boundaries in various countries, specifically in Myanmar (Chin State), India (Manipur and Mizoram) and Bangladesh (Chittagong Hills Tracts), together under one administrative unit, a 'Zogam', which means 'land of the Zomi' under the Indian Union" (ZRA, www.satp.org, assessed on 26 June 2010).

ZRF was formed by a group of Paites defected from ZRA. USRA was formed by Vaiphei cadres who defected from ZRA to uphold the dignity and identity of the Vaipheis. United Kuki Liberation Front (UKLF) was formed on March 29, 2000 with the purported objective of upholding the interests of the Kuki community and forming a separate Kuki state called 'Kukiland'.

The Negotiation Process

In the later part of December 2008, after the completion of four rounds of meetings on the SoO between the Kuki and Zomi ethnic outfits led by the KNO and the UPF, the JMG of the government finalized the process for issue of Identity Cards to around 1745 cadres out of a total of 2519.

At a meeting held on 19 December 2008 a list of 500 cadres of KRA, 377 cadres of KNF-P, 419 cadres of UKLF, 111 cadres of KLA, 717 cadres of ZRA, 250 cadres of KNF-S, 110 cadres of HPC and 45 cadres of ZDV have been proposed by the Kuki groups for official recognition. 23 numbers of designated camps operating under different Kuki militant groups have also been proposed for official identification.

The said meeting between the JMG and the KNO and UPF was attended by the State Principal Secretary Home, Deputy Director of Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB), Colonel Sanjay Gupta of GS (HQ) Inspector General Assam Rifles (IGAR)-South; Mr.Rakesh Dhakarwal, Commandant, Central Reserved Police Force; Lieutenant Colonel D Mishra, GSD (Int), 57 Mountain Divison; KMS Rao, Assistant Director, SIB; Major S Jung, HQIGAR (S) and seven other representatives from the KNO and UPF (1745 Kuki undergrounds to be given I-cards, 23 camps proposed for official recognition,IFP, 22 December 2008).

With the signing of the tripartite agreement, SoO came into force initially for a period of one year with the provision that it could be extendable on the basis of mutual agreement and understanding. The KNO spokesman, Dr. SeilenHaokip took SoO as a pre-requisite to political dialogue's commencement.( Kuki solution should be within Indian Constitution, NorthEast Sun, October 15, 2008).

While voicing on behalf of the KNO he stated that the tripartite agreement was a structural necessity. He exemplify by stating that the Joint Monitoring Group comprising representatives from GOI, KNO and the Government of Manipur will be dealing with issues related to the field or the ground rules. JMG are going to be responsible for monitoring the activities of KNO's cadres and the security forces.

JMG is an administrative body, which will take decisions pertaining to the camps and ground issues; it is not going to be responsible for making political decisions. However this was not KNO's preferred model. Instead KNO would want GoI to engage in dialogue with them and referred to the Manipur state government any relevant issue as and when necessary.

A Joint Monitoring Group headed by Principal Secretary (Home), with a representative each from the UPF and the KNO had also been formed. Issuing of identity cards to all the cadres of the two groups by the government, payment of Rs. 2000 to each cadre monthly for maintenance as well as identifying and building the designated camps.

The cadres will not be allowed to move out of the designated camps with arms and all the designated camps will be located at a good distance from the national highways as well as international boundaries, and strict adherence to the rules so laid down are some significant points of the ground rules. As per the agreement, the enforcement of the ground rules would be the responsibility of the state government with the help and assistance of the central police organizations, Assam Rifles and Army deployed in the state of Manipur (SoO signed enforced, IFP, 23 Aug 2008).

The agreed "Ground Rules" demands all the parties to stick to the conditions that admit them into the SoO group. Exercising any sort of military might, particularly by the armed groups, is bound to be seen as violation of the contract that they have mutually entered into.

On the part of the armed groups, it appears that none would immediately choose to stand in the way of the peace process in their quest to walk the talk towards securing "political solution". In this connection the KNO spokesman stated that the main purpose of SoO was to engage in political dialogue to find a political settlement for the Kukis within the constitution of India.

Calvin H, member of the UPF also asserted that "despite the stand of the Government of Manipur" for territorial integrity, "there is no binding clause in the constitution that says the boundary of the state cannot be changed" ('KNO, UPF and the SoO: Long Walk to Talk', www. Kanglaonline.com, assessed on 29 June 2010).

UPF's convener of the Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) TL Jacob Thadou stated that the armed groups are adhering to the agreed conditions of the "Ground Rules" in good spirit. He said that the armed groups have been pragmatically engaged in a learning process that requires them to make peace, build confidence and resolve differences. Further he said, the preparations, thus far, have been held in a positive atmosphere with certain progress, though without definitive agreements for the political talks.

Commander of 59 Mountain Brigade, stated on 27 November 2009 that the tripartite SoO pact signed between the Central Government, the State Government and Kuki militant groups were still in transitory phase and no political dialogue has been initiated as yet ('SoO in transitory phase', TSE, 27 November 2009).

To be continued......


* This article was sent to e-pao by Imphal Times
This article was posted on May 17, 2018.


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