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Indian Polity

Peace Agreement Between Government of India and UNLF

  • 02 Dec 2023
  • 7 min read

For Prelims: United National Liberation Front (UNLF), Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967, Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement, Insurgent Groups, Kuki groups, Inner Line Permit (ILP), Article 244 (1), Article 244 (2).

For Mains: Analysis of Peace Agreement for tackling the North East Insurgency.

Source: PIB

Why in the News?

Recently, The Government of India and Government of Manipur signed a Peace Agreement with United National Liberation Front (UNLF) , which is oldest valley-based insurgent group of Manipur.

What is the United National Liberation Front (UNLF)?

  • The UNLF was formed in 1964, and is distinct from the insurgent groups active in the state’s Naga-dominated and Kuki-Zomi dominated hills.
  • The UNLF is one of the seven “Meitei Extremist Organisations” banned by the Union government under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967.
  • The UNLF has been operating both within and outside Indian Territory.
  • It is believed that the UNLF initially received training from the NSCN (IM), the largest insurgent group among the Naga factions.
  • It operates in all the valley areas of Manipur and some villages in the Kuki-Zomi hill districts.
  • It is a banned group It mostly operates from camps and training bases in Myanmar's Sagaing Region, Chin State, and Rakhine State, with support from the Myanmar military.

What is the Purpose of the Peace Agreement?

  • The agreement is anticipated to bring about a significant boost in ushering in a new era of peace, particularly in Manipur and the North East region.
  • This marks the first instance where a Manipuri armed group from the valley has chosen to abandon violence, returning to mainstream society while committing to respect the Constitution of India and abide by the country's laws.
  • The agreement will not only bring an end to hostilities between UNLF and security forces which have claimed precious lives on both sides over the last more than half a century but also provide an opportunity to address the longstanding concerns of the community.
  • The return of the UNLF to the mainstream will also encourage other valley-based armed groups to participate in the peace process.
  • A Peace Monitoring Committee (PMC) will be constituted to oversee enforcement of the agreed ground rules.

What are the Other Insurgent Groups of Manipur?

  • Several other Insurgent groups of Manipur are Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP), People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), National Socialist Council of Nagaland - Khaplang (NSCN-K).
  • A trilateral Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement was established in 2008 involving the Central government, the state of Manipur, and insurgent groups from the Kuki-Zomi region.

What is the Suspension of Operations (SoO) Pact?

  • 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.
  • 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.

What are the Administrative Arrangements to Tackle with Insurgent Groups?

  • Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER):
    • It is responsible for the matters relating to the planning, execution and monitoring of development schemes and projects in the North Eastern Region, to accelerate the pace of socio-economic development of the region.
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP):
    • Restrictions are imposed on the entry of outsiders to maintain the original identity of indigenous people of Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh entry of outsiders are not allowed without Inner Line Permit (ILP).
  • Constitutional provision
    • Article 244 (1) provides that provisions of the 5th schedule shall apply to the administration or control of scheduled areas and scheduled tribes.
    • Article 244 (2) provides that provisions of the 6th schedule shall apply to the administration or control of schedule areas, in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram to create Autonomous Districts Councils in these states.

Conclusion

The Peace Agreement involving the Central government, Manipur governments and the UNLF is a crucial step toward peace in Manipur and the wider North East region. The historic accord sees the UNLF returning to mainstream, fostering hope for long standing issue resolution. The Peace Monitoring Committee reinforces commitment to enforce ground rules, while similar arrangements with other insurgent groups signal ongoing efforts to address regional complexities and promote development.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. Analyze the multidimensional challenges posed by external state and non-state actors, to the internal security of India. Also discuss measures required to be taken to combat these threats. (2021)

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