Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Trilateral SoO agreement likely in Manipur

Manipur Cabinet’s approval to the revised ground rules for Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreements with Kuki militants operating in the state has effected a likely trilateral agreement to be signed among the government of India, Manipur government and Kuki National Organisation (KNO) to formalize the SoO and effect cessation of hostilities, a highly placed source said today.
Manipur government has authorized its principal secretary home to sign the agreement on behalf of the government of Manipur where the state government would be responsible to enforce the agreed ground rules with the assistance of the CPOs, Assam Rifles and Army.
The trilateral agreement is likely to be signed during the next round of talks to be held in the second week of August in New Delhi, the source said.
According to the source, a cabinet meeting of the Secular Progressive Front (SPF) under the chairmanship of the state chief minister O Ibobi Singh held on July 29 had approved the revised ground rules of SoO with the KNO.
It may be mentioned that the SoO have been in force between the Army and constituents of the United People Front ( a body formed by different Kuki based militants outfit and KNO) since August 1, 2005 which however, was not recognized by the Manipur government as it had no agreeable ground rules.
The suspension of the agreement will be initially for one year which may be extended by a mutual agreement. The KNO comprises of 11 different Kuki based militant outfits including Kuki National Army-KNA; Kuki National Front (Military Council)-KNF(MC); Kuki National Front (Zogam)-KNF(Z); United Socialist Revolutionary Army-USRA; Zou Defense Volunteers-ZDV; Zomi Revolutionary Force-ZRF; United Komrem Revolutionary Army-UKRA; United Komrem Revolutionary Army-UKRA; Hmar National Army-HMA; Kuki National Organisation- KNO; Kuki Liberation Army-KNO,KLA, KRA(U) and United All Kuki Liberation Army-UAKLA.
Clauses of the ground rules agreed by the KNO during the second round of talk held on July 14 and 15 last, includes –complete halt to acts of violence or unlawful activities such as killings, injuries, kidnapping, ambush, extortions, intimidations, carrying of arms in public and imposing of “tax” or “fines”.
In turn, the security forces (the Army, Paramilitary Forces and the state police) will not launch any operation against the group as long as the outfits adhere to the agreement as approved by the state Cabinet.
A Joint Monitoring Group to oversee the implementation of the SoO will be set up under the principal secretary, home department, government of Manipur. The JMG will also include the Inspector General of Police (Intelligence), Manipur and representatives of Ministry of Home Affairs, Central Police organizations (CPOs), Army and the underground groups. The JMG would meet once in a month.
According to the agreement, the cadres will remain inside designated camps and shoulder responsibility for administration of the camps as per the ground rule while location and numbers of the designated camps will be decided by the JMG. Groups will designate liaison officers of the group camp for interaction with security forces.
The state government will pay reasonable amount of money to the group for maintenance of the camps. In addition, cadres will be provided vocational training at government expense. One their part, the group and its cadres will not accept donation in cash or kinds from public, the approved agreement said.

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