House resolution pitches for abrogating SoO
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, February 29 2024: The Manipur Legislative Assembly has unanimously adopted a resolution to urge the Central government to abrogate the Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement signed with all Kuki-Zo armed groups/militants.

The House observed the rampant violation of the ground rules of SoO by Kuki militants and adopted the resolution with unanimity.

Opposition member K Ranjit and ruling member Th Shanti moved calling attention motions against alleged illegal activities of Kuki militant groups.

Considering the significance of the motion and gravity of the present situation in the state, the Speaker called for a short duration discussion so that all members of the House could participate.

Members from both benches observed that the impunity en-joyed by Kuki militant groups under SoO escalated the violence and scrapping the pact would help restore peace and normalcy in the state.

They also unanimously agreed that hands of central security forces are tied due to the SoO agreement.

After hearing the observation of the members, leader of the House, chief minister N Biren said that there have been instances of the possible involvement of SoO groups in the crisis.

As a result, the state cabinet, in the past, adopted a resolution and urged the Centre for abrogation of the SoO pact.

Ruling bench also want abrogation of SoO and they will support the resolution, he affirmed, after which the resolution was adopted.

In response to observations from the members, Biren said that mistakes in the past led to the current crisis.

This may look like breach of law and order but it is an aggression with the objective to disintegrate the state by terrorising the public.

NSCN-IM, which is currently in ceasefire agreement with the Government of India, had long history of armed conflict with the Indian Army and signing a peace pact is justifiable.

However, the Kuki militants under SoO never had a single incident of armed conflict with the Indian Army so it is rather surprising thinking why there was a need for a peace agreement, that too with a Myanmarese national.

The then union home minister Chidambaram accorded warm welcome to Myanmarese national, he maintained.

After the ceasefire agreement with in 2005, number of villages in some of the hill districts increased significantly.

Instances of illegal immigration, deforestation, poppy cultivation and cross border drug trade got a boost after the agreement.

As a result, around 1.5 lakh youths of the state are affected by drugs.

Three years after the initial peace pact, it was converted into a tripartite agreement from 2008 but without an interlocutor and the Kuki militants were given free hands.

The entire valley is now surrounded by camps of militant groups under SoO.

It was the mistakes of the past government that is affecting the present generation, he said.

Biren further informed that from 2017 onwards, the state government led by BJP started checking violation of ground rules by the SoO groups.

There were 14 designated camps along the national highways and the government had initiated measures to shift them to other locations.

There are apprehensions of external hands behind the crisis in the state through the Kuki militant groups under SoO, especially ZRA and KNO, he added.

According to Ranjit, there is no Kuki militant group that is not involved in the current crisis which is a well-known fact.

He said that CM Biren himself was a cabinet minister during the SPF-II government in 2008 when the tripartite SoO agreement was signed.

While recalling the vandalism and arson act of Kuki miscreants to an open gym, slated to be inaugurated by the chief minister, and vandalism of a Meetei shrine in Churachandpur district April 27 night, the Congress MLA opined that timely action by the government could have averted the current crisis.

The newly elected chief minister of Mizoram met Prime Minister, Union Home Minister and other Central leaders within one month of election and registered his government's protest against scrapping Free Movement Regime and border fencing.

It is unfortunate that the chief minister of Manipur has not met the Prime Minister till date or the PM had said nothing.

He asked the CM to be bold and brave while expressing dissatisfaction that the CM has not enquired about welfare and safety of the people of Sugnu constituency, which Ranjit represents, despite facing one of the worst skirmishes till date.

In his teary presentation, Khundrakpam MLA Th Lokeshwar expressed dissatisfaction on the response of the state and Central government to the aggression by Kuki militants and drew attention of the House to adopt the resolution.

Ruling members Karam Shyam, Mayanglambam Rameshwar, Kh Ibomcha and others also presented their observations and supported the proposal for adopting the resolution-in favour of scrapping SoO agreement.

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