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COCOMI urges PM to end SoO truce with Kuki militant groups

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IMPHAL, Feb 27: Coordination Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) through a memorandum has urged the central government not to extend the tripartite Suspension of Operation (SoO) terms with Kuki based militant groups.

As many as 24 Kuki based militant groups under the banner of Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and United People’s Front (UPF) are under SoO truce with the Indian government and Manipur government.

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The agreement, which was signed in 2008, has been extended from time to time and the last term is due to expire by February 28 this year.

The COCOMI submitted the memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi through his office at New Delhi on Monday.

In the memorandum, COCOMI urged the Prime Minister to “exercise extreme caution” and “refrain from hastily extending” the SoO agreement with Kuki militant groups.

It alleged the armed groups were violating the ground rules repeatedly and flagrantly without thorough scrutiny and reassessment.

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There was hard evidence of involvement of the groups under SoO in targeted attacks against Indian Army and state police personnel, it alleged while adding that the progress in the peace process remains elusive despite the numerous extensions since 2008.

“As the expiry date of the SoO pact with Chin-Kuki narco-terrorist groups approaches on February 28, 2024, we are compelled to express our deep concerns. Despite numerous extensions since 2008 under the guise of political dialogue, progress in the peace process remains elusive,” the COCOMI stated in the memorandum.

The repeated and flagrant violations of the ground rules of the truce exacerbated the already volatile situation in Manipur, it added.

It further alleged that the violation of the ground rules by SoO groups behind the recent escalations of violence in Manipur.

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“This reality underscores the urgent need for caution and re-evaluation of any decisions regarding the extension of the SoO agreement,” it added.

The numerous instances of SoO gound rules violations presented a compelling justification for the demand to abrogate the SoO agreement, the COCOMI also said in the memorandum.

“These breaches not only demonstrate a flagrant disregard for the terms of the agreement, but also pose a significant threat to peace and stability in the region,” it asserted.

While alleging that the cadres of the militant groups under SoO are continuously engaging in criminal activities including attacks on civilians, involvement in the narcotics trade and flouting of Indian citizenship laws, the COCOMI stated that it undermined the integrity of the agreement and erodes trust in the peace process.

COCOMI further urged the Prime Minister to take immediate and decisive action to address SoO ground rule violations and illegal activities perpetrated by “Chin-Kuki narco-terrorist groups”.

Furthermore, it implored the central government to prioritize the safety and security of the indigenous people of the state above all other considerations in any decision-making process, the COCOMI added in the memorandum.

The memorandum signed by COCOMI coordinator Somerendro Thokchom was submitted by a three-member team, including its spokesperson Khuraijam Athouba, through the PMO in New Delhi on Monday. (NNN)

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