Immediately withdraw SoO with KNO/KNA, ZRO/ZRA: PAPPM

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Imphal: Government of India and Government of Manipur should immediately withdraw Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement with KNO/KNA and ZRO/ZRA, People’s Alliance for Peace and Progress, Manipur (PAPPM) demands.

The SoO, a tripartite ceasefire agreement between Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and central and state governments was first signed on Aug 22, 2008 and it has been extending from time to time. Similarly SoO agreement with Zomi Revolutionary Organisation (ZRO)/Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA) was also signed in 2008.

“It is a common knowledge that Poppy Cultivation in the Hills of Manipur has been taken up under the patronage of militant groups taking advantage of the Suspension of Operation (SoO), president of the People’s alliance M. Bobby Meetei said in a statement released on Saturday.

The quantum of drug smuggling through Manipur has also increased manifold since then, it added.

“It is also known that these militant groups are bringing Mynamaree Nationals and settling them in the hills of Manipur taking advantage of SoO. The extortion in some hills districts which were otherwise not affected before has also increased dramatically since then,” the people’s alliance said.

This is not surprising considering the fact that P Soyang Haokip, president and supreme commander of the Kuki National Army (KNA) and the chairman of KNO is of Myanmar origin and was born in Molnoi village in Saigang division, Myanmar. Dr Seilen Haokip, the spokesperson of KNO is from Mizoram and was born of a Bengali father and a Kuki mother with strong Myanmarese connection. His mother later became the second wife of a person from Haokip clan of Saitu, Kangpokpi, and thus got his Haokip surname, it said.

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Similarly, Thang Lian Pau, the president of ZRA/ZRO is a Myanmarese national born in Panmwarl village, Tonzang Tsp., Chin State of Myanmar and he was a member of Myanmar Parliament. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Mandalay University in 1984, and received a Masters of Science degree in 1988 from Rangoon University. He was the general secretary of the Zomi National Congress (ZNC) until December 1991. He became an independent MP after the SLORC banned the ZNC in 1992, it added.

According to Dr Th. Siamkhum, the Paites setteld in Manipur came from Chin Hills in 1870s. Dr H Kamkhenthang has also written in his book, “The Paites, a transborder tribe of Manipur” that the old Kukis came to Manipur in the 16th century and Thadou (New Kuki) in the later part of the 18th century and early part of the 19th Centuries. He has also mentioned that the Paites came to Manipur only in the later part of the 19th and early part of the 20th century, the people’s alliance said.

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So, it is not surprising that P Soyang Haokip, is now talking of Zale’n-gam, meaning the Land of Freedom for Kukis. Similarly, The ZRA’s proclaimed objective is to “protect the interests of the Zo ethnic groups” and to “unite the Zomi peoples under one state, Zogam”, which overlaps the official state boundaries of India (Manipur and Mizoram), Myanmar (Chin State) and Bangladesh, it added.

“Why the Centre and Manipur government have undertaken the Suspension of Operation agreement with these militant groups which are controlled by Myanmarese Nationals arises naturally?” It asked.

It appears that the governments of India and Manipur are helping them to grow militarily under the pretext of peace process by handing over a large tract of land of Manipur under their control and thus sacrificing the national interest in the long run, it said.

It is quite natural that these individuals and organisations controlled by them would not hesitate to sacrifice the interests of the people of Manipur, which includes Zomis, Thadous (New Kukis) settled in Manipur with the permission of the then Maharaja of Manipur. This is quite evident from the large influx of people from Myanmar in recent times under the patronage of these militant groups and making them settle in various places in hill areas of Manipur without any scant respect of law by conspiring with some bureaucrats and politicians, the people’s alliance said.

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The continuation of SoO agreement with KNA/KNO under P S Haokip and ZRA/ZRO under Thang Lian Pau is thus a big threat not only to the harmonious co-existence of the people of Manipur but also to the national security of India. People’s Alliance for Peace and Progress, Manipur being a voluntary social organisation dedicated to working towards peace and progress in Manipur would like to make clear our firm stand that continuation of SoO agreement with KNA/KNO and ZRA/ZRO is not in the interest of the indigenous people of Manipur living together for many centuries under the Manipur Kingdom in the past and now under the Indian Union and striving for a peaceful and progressive Manipur and hence Indian Nation, it added.

“We, therefore, demand that the central government and state government should immediately withdraw Suspension of Operation agreement with such militant groups led and run by foreigners against the national interest. We welcome the peace process, but it should be initiated only with the leaders who are born and brought up in the state of Manipur,” the people’s alliance said.

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