Bharat Express

Historic deal: Manipur’s armed group UNLF signs peace pact with Government to join mainstream

It is an important step towards long-term peace in Manipur, which is crucial to India’s national security.

After sixty years of guerilla warfare against central and state forces, the oldest valley-based armed group in Manipur, which had been fighting for a sovereign land since the post-Independence merger of the former kingdom with India, has now hung up its weapons.

It is an important step towards long-term peace in Manipur, which is crucial to India’s national security because it is country’s primary land transport gateway to Southeast Asia and shares a lengthy border with Myanmar, which is ruled by a junta.

Home Minister Amit Shah attributed the decline of insurgencies in Manipur and other northeastern regions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development policies. On Wednesday, the Center and the state government announced the signing of a tripartite peace deal with the United National Liberation Front (UNLF).

Formerly led by social activist RK Meghen, a resident of Imphal, the UNLF split into two groups several years after he left.

In order to highlight the UNLF’s roots in the valley of the state capital Imphal and other areas that are not considered hill regions, the Center referred to the armed group as “valley-based” when announcing the peace agreement. In a similar vein, a tripartite peace agreement known as the suspension of operations (SoO) agreement already governs at least 25 insurgent groups that are situated on hills.

The hill-majority Kuki tribes and the valley-majority Meiteis have been engaged in ethnic conflicts in Manipur in recent months over a variety of issues, including a lack of land and resources and claiming a portion of the affirmative action Scheduled Tribes (ST) policy. There have been thousands of internal displacements and over 180 deaths.

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