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Manipur Government Withdraws from SoO Agreement

  • 14 Mar 2023
  • 4 min read

For Prelims: Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement, Kuki National Army, Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA).
For Mains: Insurgency issues in Northeast India.

Why in News?

On March 10,2023 the Manipur government decided to withdraw from the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement with two militant groups, Kuki National Army (KNA) and Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA), alleging their involvement in inciting agitation among forest encroachers.

What is Kuki Insurgency?

  • The Kuki insurgency began after ethnic clashes with the Nagas of Manipur in the early 1990s, with the Kukis arming themselves against Naga aggression.
  • The major reason for clashes is the land claimed by the Kukis as their "homeland" in the Manipur hills overlaps with the imagined Naga homeland of Greater Nagaland or Nagalim.
  • Nearly 30 Kuki insurgent groups operate in Manipur, of which 25 are under tripartite SoO with the Government of India and the state.
  • The Kuki outfits initially demanded a separate Kuki state but now seek a 'Kukiland territorial council.'

What is the Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA)?

  • The ZRA is a militant group operating in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur.
    • The group was formed in 1996 with the aim of securing greater autonomy for the Zomi people, an indigenous community living in the region.
  • The ZRA is believed to be a splinter group of the larger Zomi Nationalist Movement (ZNM), which was active in the 1980s and 1990s.

What is the Suspension of Operations (SoO) Pact?

  • About:
    • The SoO agreement with Kuki was signed in 2008 as a ceasefire agreement between the Indian government and various Kuki militant groups operating in the northeastern states of Manipur and Nagaland.
    • Under the agreement, the Kuki militant groups agreed to stop carrying out violent activities and come to designated camps to be monitored by security forces.
      • In return, the Indian government agreed to suspend its operations against the Kuki groups.
  • Terms of SoO Pact:
    • The Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) oversees the effective implementation of the pact.
      • Security forces, including state and central forces, cannot launch operations, nor can the underground groups.
    • Signatories of UPF and KNO abide by the Constitution of India, laws of the land, and territorial integrity of Manipur.
      • They are prohibited from committing atrocities and extortion.
      • The militant cadres are confined to designated camps, with arms deposited in a safe room under a double-locking system.
      • The groups are given arms only to guard their camps and protect their leaders.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question:

Q. The North-East region of India has been infested with insurgency for a very long time. Analyze the major reasons for the survival of armed insurgency in this region. (2017)

Source: IE

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