Imphal: In a first step towards ushering in peace in insurgency-ravaged Manipur, a tripartite memorandum of understanding was signed yesterday between the central and Manipur governments and three secessionist outfits.
The three outlawed rebel outfits which signed the agreement include United Revolutionary Front (URF), Lamphel faction of the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP-L) and the MDF faction of the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL-MDF). The three outfits have been waging war against the Indian state, seeking an independent Manipur.
The Union government was represented by the joint secretary of the home ministry in-charge of north east affairs, Shambu Singh; and the Manipur government was represented by principal secretary in-charge of home, J Suresh.
The URF was represented by its chairman, Khwairakpam Gopendro Singh, the KCP-L by its military chief Naorem Brojen Meitei, and the KYKL-MDF by its chairman Maisnam Athouba.
A total of 197 rebels belonging to the three outlawed outfits — the URF (90 rebels), KCP-L (40 rebels) and KYKL-MDF (67 rebels) — surrendered before Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh with 138 weapons.
As per the deal, the rebels will have to ensure that their private armies and arms are surrendered within 90 days of the signing of the accord.
Welcoming the rebels, the chief minister urged them to make a new beginning, renouncing violence. “I do not consider you enemies of the state. Let us forgive and forget, and start anew,” Singh said at the function.
The chief minister assured the rebels that the government would ensure their safety and offer them proper rehabilitation. Manipur Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam termed the signing of the agreements a ray of hope.