Northeast

State yet to engage in dialogue with major insurgent groups of Manipur: Report

The Manipur Human Rights Commission recommends constitution of “Peace and Reconciliation Commission”

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 13 Aug 2022, 6:18 pm

(Representational Image: Unsplash)
(Representational Image: Unsplash)

 

The Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) observed that the state is yet to put serious effort to bring major insurgent groups of Manipur to the negotiating table.

Subsequently, the MHRC recommended the state for the constitution of a “Peace and Reconciliation Commission” which will involve all stakeholders in Extra Judicial Execution Victims’ Families Association, Manipur.

The commission registered a suo-moto in connection with the frequent extension of disturbed areas status in the state. Subsequently, the commission had asked the state, including the chief secretary, DGP and special secretary (Home) to spell out the initiatives taken by the state to resolve insurgency problems vexing the state. In response, the ADGP Manipur reportedly submitted a report.

Based on the report, the commission observed that “the state government is yet to engage by way of dialogue with major insurgent groups of Manipur”.

The MHRC felt that the state government requires innovative ideas and approaches in order to bring contesting parties into dialogue for lasting and sustainable peace in Manipur.

Also Read: Constitute commission for settling insurgency issues politically: MHRC

The MHRC said, as per the report of the ADGP Manipur, spelled out a two-pronged strategy to tackle insurgency and bring the misguided youths into the mainstream.

The first strategy is continuing with the counter Insurgency operations while the second is initiating dialogues/holding talks with the insurgent groups. So far, the Government is continuing with the implementation of the surrender policy in the state as well as signing SoO/MoUs.

It submitted that insurgency has been contained to a considerable extent due to the constant counter insurgency operations by the police and the security forces who are able to apprehend a number of insurgents with the seizure/recovery of arms and ammunition and various other items like IEDs, hand grenades, etc.

In valley districts, the special commando unit of the district police play the main role in counter insurgency operations, with AR/Army joining in from time to time. In the hill districts, the AR/Army leads in launching counter insurgency operations with assistance of district police.

The state police are also focusing on stepping up intelligence collection, preventive detention of insurgents and check cross border movement.

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The district police Anti-Extortion cells are giving more emphasis on severing the fund channels of UG groups, choking their extortion networks, Hawala channels in Manipur.

Regarding the disturbed areas under AFSPA, 1958, it is submitted that violent activities of various extremist/insurgent groups warrant the use of Armed forces in aid of the civil administration in the entire state of Manipur except some areas.

Hence, the State home department recently declared the entire state of Manipur excluding the areas falling under the jurisdiction of fifteen police stations in six districts as a ‘Disturbed Area’ where the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 in force vide Home Department notification No. 2/8(6)/2022-H(AFSPA) on March 31 for a period of six months with effect from April 1, 2022. The declaration of disturbed area status will be reviewed every six months.

Seven Meitei Extremist Organizations along with their factions/wings/front organizations namely PLA/RPF, UNLF, PREPAK, KCP, KYKL, CorCOM, AUSK along with all their factions, wings and front organizations have been declared as “Unlawful Association” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

For coordination of different agencies involved in CI Ops, the state government constituted various committees and groups to synergize security/counter-insurgency operations of various state and Central government agencies in the state namely combined headquarters (CHQ), chaired by chief minister, Manipur for formulating policy and based strategies to review and coordinate initiatives; Strategy and Operations Groups (SOG), chaired by Chief Secretary, Manipur to finalize, implement, supervise and review security/counter insurgency operation (CI Ops) with special trust in the insurgency dominated district of Manipur;  Operations and Intelligence Group (OIG) to address intelligence gathering issues as also undertake analysis and coordination of inputs with special focus on activities of various insurgent groups.

“Suspension of Operations” agreement was signed between the UPF (United People’s Front) and KNO (Kuki National Organisation) on one side and the government of India and government of Manipur on the other on August 22, 2008 in New Delhi. After trial for one year, a review of the SoO was done both at the state and central level followed by a Tripartite Agreement of extension of the SoO for another year (Second Part) on August 22, 2009 signed on August 18, 2009 by the government of India and state government of Manipur and KNO was further extended continually, based on mutual understanding of all parties concerned with the latest extension effective till February 28, 2023.”

“Currently, a total of 25 militant outfits under the two conglomerates– United People’s Front (UPF) and Kuki National Organisation (KNO) are currently under Suspension of Operations agreement with the government. Fourteen designated camps have been set up to lodge cadres of the two SoO groups, 7 (seven) KNO camps and 7 (seven) UPF camps”, as per the report.

“To safeguard/oversee the implementation of the SoO, a committee called Joint Monitoring Group (JMC) was formed amongst the signatories and it is headed by the special secretary (Home), government of Manipur, and includes members like Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) of the state; department of Home Ministries; CPO’s, Army/Assam Rifles and the UG groups”, the commission report said.

“For the valley-based insurgent groups also, the scheme for surrender and rehabilitation of insurgents/militants has been implemented in the state since 2005 through the surrender of insurgents which had already taken place since the 1990s in the state. More than 1000 cadres have surrendered since 1982. 696 cadres have surrendered since 2005 so far.”

“Valley-based UG group, KCP/MC (Lallumba) was the first valley-based UG group to enter into a Tripartite Agreement with the government, both union as well as state in August 2010.

“This was followed by the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the United People’s Party of Kangleipak (UPPK), the United Revolutionary Front (URF), KCP (Lamphel) and KYKL (MDF) in 2013. In all, over 300 cadres belonging to these four valley-based UG groups were rehabilitated as per the terms and conditions of the MoU.

“Cadres belonging to the Nongdrenkhomba faction of Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP Nongdrenkhomba) laid down arms, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government on September 9, 2013.

“KCP (KK Nganba) also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the State Government on 15 December 2014. In March 2021, 20 cadres of the Thadou People’s Liberation Army (TPLA), UNLF and PREPAK (Pro) surrendered to the state.

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“On December 15, 2014, KCP (KK Nganba) also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state government.

"A scheme for surrender-cum-rehabilitation for the militants of the North Eastern states as formulated by the ministry of Home Affairs, government of India, was implemented in Manipur in 1999. Thereafter, the revised schemes for surrender sum rehabilitation were implemented in the years 2005, 2012, and 2018.

"The latest scheme for surrender-cum-rehabilitation of militants in the North East became effective from April 1, 2018. The revised scheme’s objective is to provide rehabilitation/re-settlement of surrendered militants by way of self-employment in trades of their choice.

"At present the surrendered militants are provided stipend of Rs 6000 per person per month for a three-year period to meet the expenses on boarding and lodging, an immediate grant of Rs 4 lakh in the form of fixed deposit in a scheduled bank which can be withdrawn after the initial 3 (three) years period and used as collateral security for loans, etc. from banks and Incentive money for surrendered weapons at rates already prescribed in the scheme. However, subject to good behaviour of the militants during their stay in the rehabilitation camp.”

A rehabilitation camp as envisaged under the revised scheme was opened at the erstwhile Rear Headquarters of 5th MR at Lamphelpat on September 1, 2005 with 12 (twelve) inmates. Thereafter, the surrendered insurgents have been lodged at Chothe Designated camp, Bishnupur since 2017.

Sixty-eight militants, including four women, belonging to different valley based insurgent groups laid down arms and joined the mainstream during a home coming ceremony in Imphal on the eve of the 71st Independent Day of the country on August 14, 2017. They also surrendered eight weapons, including three AK-series files, one M-16 rifle, one lethod gun and three pistols with ammunition.

Sixteen militants of Thadou Peoples’ Liberation Army (TPLA) and four other militants of various valley based UG groups laid down arms during a home coming ceremony held in Imphal on March 9, 2021 along with 12 arms including one AK-56 rifles, one lathod gun and 9 small arms and assorted ammunition.

On June 1, 2022, 14 cadres of United Tribal Liberation Army (UTLA) (James) laid down 11 arms and surrendered to the government.

It submitted that 359 numbers of surrenderees (valley/hill based UGs) whose surrendered w.e.f 1982 to 2005 (Pre-2005 Scheme) and 698 numbers of surrenderees whose surrendered w.e.f 2005 to till date and also 52 numbers of surrenderees currently under receiving rehabilitation.

MHRC opined that a concerted effort can be effectively made by constituting a “Peace and Reconciliation Commission.” It shall involve all the stakeholders as observed by the Supreme Court in Extra Judicial Execution Victims’ Families Association, Manipur, in order to address and ensure a lasting peace.

The Peace and Reconciliation Commission shall have a clear mandate to facilitate free and fair involvement of all the stakeholders, including insurgents and women representatives, who have been in the forefront of peace and human rights of citizens of Manipur. It should be empowered in such a way that it may arrive at its own independent mandates and decisions in a transparent and effective manner.

Therefore, an essential feature for an effective committee to function independently is to allocate its due budget accordingly.
 

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MHRCManipur Human Rights Commissioninsurgent groupsTPLAUTLA

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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