Terminate SoO with Kuki armed groups to prevent destabilisation of India: Meitei Alliance

Imphal: Meitei Alliance, a global network of the Meiteis, has demanded the termination of the tripartite Suspension of Operations (SoO) Agreements signed between the Centre, the state, and the Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and United People’s Front (UPF) in Manipur as ‘the armed groups have been repeatedly violating the Agreed Ground rules of the SoO’.

Meitei Alliance in a press release said it appreciates the recent decision by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to scrap “the Free Movement Regime (FMR) between India and Myanmar to ensure the internal security of the country and to maintain the demographic structure of India’s North-Eastern states bordering Myanmar.” The SoO also poses the same threat to India’s security and demographic balance; the details of which are elaborated with conclusive evidence in a booklet entitled “Ghost of Peace: Why Not Abrogate Suspension of Operation Agreements with Kuki Armed Groups to Prevent Destabilisation of India?” which was also released during the event on Friday.

The Meitei Alliance has also submitted a memorandum to the Union Home minister of India on February 21requesting the SoO to be scrapped.

To ensure internal security, the tripartite SoO with KNO and UPF agreement was first signed in since 2008 and extended annually. Unfortunately, far from walking on the path of peace, these armed groups have been repeatedly violating the “Agreed Ground Rules of SoO” to achieve their hidden agenda, the Meitei Alliance said.

While the central government would not enforce terms clearly which provides for termination of the agreement in case of violations of the ground rules, to militarily suppress KNO and UPF, the latter hide under SoO to covertly act against India’s peace and security. They, in collusion with external forces, have a direct bearing on orchestrating and continuation of the ongoing communal mayhem in Manipur since

May 3, 2023. “Since all these go against the objectives of SoO, why continue with it?” the Alliance asks.

Suspension of Operation with any armed group is, technically speaking, to restore law and order and to ensure human security in the country.

Addressing the press Dr. Malem Ningthouja said, “To restore peace and internal security, terms for SoO should be immediately enforced, especially -in case of groups found violating the Ground Rules in future, state government on the recommendation of the Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) may terminate the SoO arrangements and also take appropriate action including use of force against the group.”

Prof. Angomcha Bimol Akoijam said, “Suspension of Operation with any armed group is, technically speaking, to restore law and order and to ensure human security in the country. But when it is used to mask privatisation of violence, it poses a threat to the security of the state as well as life and property of the citizen. There are allegations of present SoO being such a mask. And hence it should be reviewed.”

Lt. Gen. Dr Konsam Himalay Singh, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, YSM (Retd.) said, “Even though the SOO agreement had some flaws (unintentional or otherwise), simply following the ground rules would have prevented the worsening of the present situation. The rules were violated in many ways. Only the Manipur Government records can confirm this. Even now, there is scope for improvement. Like biometric identification of the inmates, reducing the number of camps and strict enforcement of AGR by concerned agencies. But violence has spread much further. Now immediate and more forceful actions to contain it are necessary including all illegal armed groups.”

Dr. Seram Rojesh said, “From various testimonies of the victims of this prolonged Violence in Manipur in the last 9 months, it is clearly established that Kuki Militants under Suspension of Operation are actively participating in the violence violating the terms of SoO. Since they have broken the rules, termination of Soo is the first step to restore peace and normalcy in Manipur.

Maj Md. Ali Shah (Retd.) said, “Being a soldier, having seen enough blood shed in J&K and the Northeast part of India who now promotes peace I think” Suspension of operations” is a very welcome move, irrespective of the groups or communities we enter into a SoO agreement with. To ensure peace, the terms and condition of SoO should be abided by all parties and enforced strictly.”

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