TODAY -

At odds with the SoO pact
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: November 09, 2023 -



WHATEVER little achievements made in the effort of restoring peace and normalcy in the restive northeastern Indian state of Manipur, which has been roiled by an unprecedented ethnic conflict between the Meetei/Meetei and Kuki-Chin communities since May 3 last, have been drown out by the sound of gunfights, once again.

With armed Kuki militants renewing attacks on Meitei/Meetei villages located in the foothill areas of the state, leaving as many as nine people including two personnel of Manipur Police injured on Tuesday, the hope of common men and women on both sides of the clash divide who have been suffering for more than six months now and yearning for return of normalcy and peace has been shattered.

With the fresh spate of violence coming close behind the recent crackdown launched by combined security forces in the border town of Moreh to nab the Kuki militants responsible for the killing of a police officer, the coordinated manner in which the armed Kuki militants are attacking the villages of Meitei/ Meetei in the foothill areas at multiple locations simultaneously has shown their true intention of generating not only fear among the people but also to send out a strong message to the security forces to back off from contin uing the operations in Moreh and other Kuki-Chin dominated areas.

The ongoing joint operation of the security forces in the border town has revealed how the Kuki militant groups, which are under the suspension of operation (SoO) agreement with the Government of India have been blatantly violating the ground rules of the ceasefire agreement and this is not going to work in their favour during negotiations for political settlement of their demand, which is ultimately creation of ‘Zale’ngam’ a land for freedom for the Kuki-Chin people by integrating all Kuki-Chin territories of Chin state (Myanmar/Burma), Chittagong Hill Tracts (Bangladesh) and Mizoram (India) and Kuki hills in Outer Manipur.

With the Government of India falling in line with the stand of Government of Manipur, which has always pointed to the nexus of militancy, narcotics and illegal infiltration from across the international border as the main factor for fuelling present conflict in the state since the very beginning, Kuki militant groups and leaders of civil society organisations have been speaking the same language in accusing the Chief Minister N Biren Singh-led BJP Government in the state of "complicity” in the current conflict, which they claim is being perpetrated by the majority Meetei/ Meetei community against the minority Kuki-Chin community.

But the truth is that if not for the Tribal Solidarity March taken out in the hill districts on May 3 against a court directive given to the Government of Manipur for sending recommendation to the centre for recognition of Meiteis/Meeteis as scheduled tribe (ST), which turned violent only in Kuki-Chin dominated areas where the houses of Meiteis were targeted and forced people in the valley to retaliate, the current conflict may not have occurred.

There is also high possibility of the Government of India still remaining oblivious to the illegal activities of the SoO-bound Kuki militant groups if the violent conflict, which has so far claim hundreds of precious human lives lost and rendered thousands of families homeless, had not broken out.

Now that it has caught the attention of the world, Kuki militant groups can no longer hide behind the SoO pact, which has specific clause for protecting the territorial integrity of Manipur.

Any act of aggression committed by the Kuki militant groups is only going to put themselves at odds with the Government of India which is now under tremendous pressure from various quarters for reviewing the SoO pact, if not abrogate it completely.

Let’s be clear to all, SoO was initiated to put an end to a problem and not to create more problems.



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