Defence Secretary of Kuki National Organisation (KNO) Thongsei Haokip signed the agreement on behalf of its group. | P.C.: EastMojo Image

Imphal: The Centre and the Manipur government have extended the tripartite Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement with Kuki militants under the two umbrella groups, namely United People’s Front (UPF) and Kuki National Organisation (KNO) by another six months.

The SoO agreement was to expire on February 28. It has been extended till August 31 to maintain peace and harmony in the Kuki-inhabited areas of Manipur.

The decision was taken on February 25 following a meeting in New Delhi with representatives of the two umbrella groups and special home secretary, Government of Manipur, H Gyan Prakash and joint secretary (NE) of the Ministry of Home Affairs Piyush Goyal.

The signatories of UPF for the extension of the SoO agreement include United Kuki Liberation Front (UKLF)-JMG convenor TL Jacob Haokip, Kuki National Front (KNF) general secretary Aaron Kipgen, Hmar Peoples Conference/Democratic (HPC (D) defence secretary Sanga Hmar, Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) general secretary Henkholal Doungel, Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA/ZRO) secretary MEA and member of JMG Ketheos Zomi and ZDV (UPF) president Kamkhanpau Zou.

Defence Secretary of Kuki National Organisation (KNO) Thongsei Haokip signed the agreement on behalf of its group.

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The meeting also resolved that the ground rules laid down in the agreement shall remain unchanged except few changes, it said.

On August 22, 2008, the agreement was signed between the Kuki groups, the Centre and the state government. Since then, the government has been extending the agreement with the groups.

During the meeting, various issues about the agreement, including the annual payment of stipend to the cadres, were discussed. Their stipend has been due since October 2019.

According to sources, during the meeting, it was resolved to refrain from any surprise checking of the designated camps. Also, leaves granted to the cadres was reduced from 20 to 10 days.

As per the agreement, the Kuki armed groups will abjure the path of violence and not engage in any violent or unlawful activity.

Moreover, the security forces, including the army, para-military forces and state police, will not initiate operations against the group as long as they abide by the SoO agreement.

There are 2,266 cadres recognised under the SoO agreement, of which 1,207 belong to the KNO and 1,059 cadres are from the UPF outfit.

According to sources, all recognised cadres are at various designated camps set up across the state. There are seven designated camps for KNO cadres –four in Churachandpur, two in Kangpokpi, and one in Tengnoupal. Similarly, there are seven designated camps for UPF outfit — three in Pherzawl, two in Kangpokpi and one in Churachandpur and Chandel.

Altogether, 25 armed Kuki groups are operating in Manipur, of which 17 are under KNO and eight under UPF.



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