IMPHAL, Sep 5: The Union home ministry will hold a high-level meeting next week with representatives of the state government and the Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and United People’s Front (UPF) to discuss the enforcement of ground rules under the suspension of operation, SoO signed with the two outfits on October 22, a report from New Delhi said.
The report quoting an official source from the Union home ministry said that the state government authorities were working towards setting up of designated camps for the militant groups.
The meeting will have representatives of the two organisations, officials of the Union ministry of home affairs, Manipur state government officials led by the principal secretary (home). The report, however, could not immediately confirm the date on which the meeting is to be held.
Mention may be made that a tripartite agreement between the Central government, state government and representatives of the two Kuki based militants groups, KNO (a body of 11 different militant groups) and UPF (another body of different militant groups of the same Kuki tribe) was signed on August 22 in New Delhi at a hotel.
On the next day, the Manipur government approved the agreement signed under the ground rules framed by the Manipur government with the state principal secretary home as signatory.
Even though the SoO agreements between the Indian Army and the constituents of KNO and UPF have been in force since August 1, 2005, the Manipur government did not recognize the same stating that it had no a clear-cut ground rules despite the Centre’s insistence.
Later, a meeting chaired by Union home secretary Madhukar Gupta last year suggested ways to reach a ceasefire with the Kuki based militant groups under the two umbrella organizations, KNO and UPF.
As the Manipur government was not party to the previous SoO, the talks between the Centre and the KNO and UPF remained without moving ahead despite the Centre’s reported eagerness to initiate peace talks with the tribal militant groups.
The fresh development has been considered to be a chance to gain some control over the rising activities of militant groups in the insurgency hit state, a media report in New Delhi quoted officials of the Union home ministry as saying.
After several rounds of tripartite meetings between the Central, state and representatives of the two umbrella organizations during last year and in the current year, finally with slight modifications to the ground rules, the agreement on SoO was signed last month.
As per the preamble of the ground rules of the SoO agreement, the militant outfits agreed to abide by the Constitution of India, the law of the land and the territorial integrity of Manipur.
Among others, the ground rules which were agreed to while signing the agreement included completely abjuring the path of violence by the constituent groups of the KNO and UPF and not to engage in violent or unlawful activities like killing, injuring, 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) would not launch operations against the group as long as they abide by the agreement, the preamble of the agreement which was later given approval by the state Cabinet stated, the source disclosed.
The cadres of the groups will stay in designated camps and responsibility of the administration would be in their hands under the ground rules but the location and numbers of the designated camps will be decided by a joint monitoring group, JMG to be constituted with the representatives of the Central, state and representatives of the KNO and UPF.
The designated camps will not be located close to populated areas and national highways, the approved agreement said, adding that these camps should be located at a reasonable distance from the international border as well as inter-state boundaries.
Environmental security of the camps will be provided by the security forces while cadres will protect their own camps under the approved agreement.
Issuance of identity cards to the underground cadres, providing of a complete list of the cadres to the IG, Special Branch, Manipur police, obtaining of prior approval from the nominated security forces or state police when cadres want to move out from its designated area are other norms to be followed by the underground under the SoO.
Cadres of outfits must also obtain prior permission while moving from one designated camp.
With regard to the weapons of the outfits, the approved agreement said that all weapons would be deposited at the camps central armoury of the outfit with double locking system, with one key with the group and other with the concerned security forces, and record of the same would be made available to the police and maintained at the armoury.
No permission to carry weapons by a cadres individually or as group and non-recruitment of any fresh cadres or raising additional military/civil outfits/frontal organizations or trying to run its own sovereign government, not to carry out offensive operations like ambush, raid, sniping and attacks leading to death/injury/damage or loss of property against the security forces, other groups and or the public are the conducts of cadres during the course of the SoO arrangements.
Even though the outfits can celebrate their raising day within the camp, they will not be allowed to construct memorials, hoist flags or carry out parades of armed cadres, it said adding that the cadres would also not be allowed to move with uniforms with or without arms in public places and they also would not extend support to any other outfits which are not included in the SoO agreement.
A joint monitoring group to oversee the implementation of the SoO would be set up and the same would be headed by the principal secretary, home department, government of Manipur and include the inspector general of police (intelligence), Manipur and representatives of ministry of home affairs, Central police organizations (CPOs) and army and the underground groups. The JMG will meet once in a month, it said.
In case of groups found violating the ground rules repeatedly, the state government on the recommendation of the joint monitoring group, JMG would be free to terminate the SoO arrangements and also take appropriate action including use of force against the group.
SoO with Kuki groups
Jt Monitoring Group meets
By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Sep 5 : Following the inking of the ground rules for the Suspension of Operations between the UPF, KNO, State Government and the Centre at Delhi on August 22, the first meeting of the Joint Monitoring Group was held today.
On the other hand the Centre and the State Government are expected to a take a decision soon to start the political dialogue.
As agreed when the ground rules were signed, the Joint Monitoring Group met at the 1st MR complex with the Chairman of the Group, Principal Secretary (Home), DS Poonia presiding the meeting.
Representatives of the UPF one of the two umbrella organisations of different armed Kuki groups attended the meeting, said a reliable source while talking to The Sangai Express today.
A similar meeting will be held with the KNO, the other umbrella organisation of many armed groups, will be held later.
Representatives from the Centre and the State Government were also present at the meeting and they included the Director of Union Home Ministry AK Goyal, officials from the BSF, CRPF, Army and IG (Intl).
The armed groups which have come under the UPF include KNF (P), ZRA, HPC (D), KLA/KLO, KNF (S), KRA and UKLF.
The meeting concentrated on locating the places where the designated camps of the groups will come up as well as the issuance of identity cards for the cadres of the armed groups.
It was agreed that the UPF will place before the Joint Monitoring Group its needs and requirements.
For a formal dialogue to start with the armed groups, the Centre and the State will take a decision soon.
The Sangai Express