Manipur Assessment

Yearly Assessment 2014

Militant activities including attacks on non-locals, blasts, as well as Irom Sharmila's fast demanding repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from Manipur that entered the fifteenth year have been significant during 2014 in Manipur. Though there was a decline in militant activities, nevertheless 13 civilians including five non-Manipuris were killed either by unidentified gunmen or in bomb explosions. Suspected NSCN-IM militants killed the former Vice Chairman and Member of the Ukhrul Autonomous District Council (UADC), Ngalangzar Malue, at Finch Corner in Ukhrul district on 12 July 2014.

The Government seemed to take a firm stand regarding militancy in Manipur. On 22 February, the MHA Joint Secretary (Northeast) Shambhu Singh said that the insurgent outfits in Manipur need to understand that it is a no win situation for them. “Groups are groups. Their numbers are limited. If it comes to handle them militarily, the might of the Government is always more than what they can muster". On 28 April, the MHA stated that CPI-Maoists, were establishing a separate network for procurement of ammunition from the Naga militants. They already have ties with RPF and PLA of Manipur.

Use of child soldiers in militant groups in Manipur was established once more when five inmates of a Government run children home were arrested by a Police team on 20 April on the charge of being activists of a militant group. A hand grenade and mobile phones were seized from the minors between the age of 11 to 14, according to Police source. It was alleged that the children were activists of KCP-Noyon. The raid was conducted based on specific input that some inmates of the home were indulging in anti-social activities like, serving demand letters and threatening individuals with bombs.

Eight non-locals, hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal were killed and 47 were injured in six incidents of attacks targeting non-locals across Manipur during 2014. On the other hand, 12 people were killed and another 39 were injured in seven such attacks in 2013. There was, however, an improvement in the general security situation in the State over the past six years. According to the SATP database, 54 fatalities [20 civilians, 10 Security Force personnel and 24 militants] were recorded in the State in 2014, as compared to 55 [21 civilians, six security force troopers, 28 militants] in 2013. Manipur had registered 485 insurgency-linked fatalities, including 131 civilians, 13 Security Force personnel and 341 militants in 2008. Since then, a constant decline is noticed as far as fatalities are concerned, with the exception of 2012, when there was a spike, primarily due to increasing militant fatalities, at 73 in 2012, as compared to 30 in 2011. Year 2014 recorded 66 incidents of explosions, in which 15 persons were killed and 76 were injured, as against 76 incidents in 2013, which resulted in 24 fatalities and 103 injuries.

The year also saw a decline in fratricidal clashes between Naga militants. There were just five such clashes through 2014 resulting in three fatalities against seven such incidents, resulting in nine fatalities, in 2013. The number of districts from where killings were reported remained the same – at eight - in both 2013 and 2014. The maximum number of fatalities were reported from Ukhrul (12), followed jointly by Tamenglong, Senapati and Imphal East (eight each).

Number of arrested militants stood at 536 in 2014, as against 368 in 2013. Arrested militants prominently included People’s Liberation Army (PLA)- 58, People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK)- 56, United National Liberation Front (UNLF)- 55, Progressive faction of PREPAK (PREPAK-PRO)-45, Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL)- 42, and ZUF-nine. On 23 July 2014, Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam Gangmei stated in the State Assembly that a total of 2,432 militants had been arrested in the State since April 2012 and Rupees 61.86 million was recovered from them.

The number of surrendered militants was at least 93 in 2014. The most significant surrender in 2014 was when 57 militants of three different militant groups (35 of the K. K. Nganba faction of Kangleipak Communist Party, 20 of the Nongdrenkhomba faction of KCP- Military Council and two of the Vice-chairman Faction of PREPAK) surrendered and laid down their arms in a 'home coming ceremony' on 15 December 2014.

On 19 December 2014, Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam Gangmei informed the State Assembly that a total of 2,731 underground cadres belonging to various armed groups operating in the State were being provided assistance under the Centre’s surrender policy. “Out of them, 1,122 belong to different groups under KNO (Kuki National Organisation), 1059 under UPF (United People’s Front) groups, besides 550 others.” Currently, about 19 underground groups under KNO and UPF are under a Suspension of Operations (SoO) Agreement in the State.

Threats from the most active militant formation, Coordination Committee (CorCom) also decreased. In 2014, CorCom was responsible for eight fatalities, the same as in 2013, and accounted for 10 blasts during 2014, as against 28 in 2013. On the other hand, the number of incidents of killing increased from 10 in 2013 to 31 in 2014. Three Security Force personnel were killed along with nine militants in 11 incidents of encounters between rebels and the Security Forces in 2014. Though number of such encounters in 2013 was higher at 13, no Security Force personal was killed in such encounters, and all 15 fatalities in such encounters were militants. The ZUF continued to remain the most lethal outfit.

Out of the 10 Security Force fatalities in 2014, six were attributed to Valley based groups - three each to UNLF and PLA. The two Naga outfits - NSCN-IM and ZUF - were responsible for one SF fatality each. At least 28 militant outfits remained active in the State through 2014. These primarily included PLA, UNLF, KYKL, NSCN-IM and ZUF. On 29 August 2013, the Union Government had declared that 34 militant formations were active in Manipur.

During 2014, Manipur recorded an increase in the number of extortion and abduction cases. There were 27 extortion cases reported during 2014, as compared to 14 in 2013. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) issued a public notice on 9 March 2014 asking all sections of people in general and affluent groups in particular to lodge complaints with the nearest Police Station or inform the Ministry through helplines, if such incidents occurred. The notification stated that names of the underground organisations, amount demanded, their telephone numbers and other particulars should be notified to the Police Stations and the MHA. The victims were required to use their own telephone numbers, and complaints lodged using some other phones would not be entertained or acknowledged. The identity of the callers, the notification stated, would be kept confidential. No further information is available on the implementation of this measure.

There were at least 31 recorded incidents of abductions through 2014, with 43 persons abducted. On the other side, 23 registered incidents resulting in 40 abductions were on record in 2013.

The year also witnessed increased activities of Islamist outfits in the State. Worryingly, in July 2014, it was reported that at least 23 youth from the Lilong area in Thoubal district had left home to join al-Qaeda. According to a 5 September report, an unnamed Government official disclosed, “They had gone in two batches. Four have returned home while the others are untraceable.” The official disclosed further that these recruits were first indoctrinated and trained in weapons before being placed in the actual war theatres in Afghanistan and Iraq. Significantly, Deputy CM, Gaikhangam confirmed that al Qaeda was recruiting youth from the Northeast, noting, “It is a fact that Al-Qaida recruits youth from the Northeast, and we must take care of the element that is threatening the sovereignty and integrity of the nation.”

With ethnic militant formations maintaining safe bases in Myanmar and Bangladesh, insurgency in the State is far from over. The Border Security Force (BSF), during the 3-day bi-annual Inspector General level meeting for border management and coordination, commencing on 6 March 2014, handed over a list of 66 camps of insurgent groups, operating in India's Northeast, which exist inside Bangladesh, to their Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) counterparts. The list included camps of the Manipur-based KYKL and PLA. Besides, CorCom is based in Myanmar, and is mulling plans for increased coordination amongst various militant groups operating in India's Northeast.

Under the prevailing circumstances, the State Cabinet extended the 'disturbed area status’ of the State under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) for another year, from 1 December 2014. The Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh on 15 August 2014, stated that the demand for an 'Alternative Arrangement' by the Nagas in Manipur was a 'pipe dream' and added that if it was conceded, the integrity of the State would be jeopardized. Union Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, observed that the Union Government would not allow the ongoing peace talks with NSCN-IM to jeopardize the State’s territorial integrity. The United Naga Council (UNC) is leading the movement for an Alternative Arrangement for Naga inhabited areas of the State. UNC held its first round of political level talks with representatives of the Union Government in Senapati district on 6 February 2014. Earlier, six rounds of tripartite talks had been held between State, Union Government and UNC representatives, before the political level talks.

While it is now established state policy to seek negotiated solutions with armed rebel groups, it is necessary for the state to define the limits beyond which it will not compromise, and to strengthen its security apparatus to control future challenges.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Manipur in November for the first time after he assumed the office. K K Paul was sworn in as governor on 15 September replacing V K Duggal. An attack on an Assam Rifles post near Myanmar border and four explosions marred Republic Day celebrations in the State. Two personnel of the 21 AR - a Major-rank officer and a rifleman - were injured in the attack, but no casualty was reported in the explosions.

Civil rights activist Irom Sharmila was re-arrested by police in August on fresh charges of attempt to commit suicide, two days after she was released on court orders. She was remanded in judicial custody. In 6 November, her fast entered the 15th year. Sit-in-protests, hunger strike and demonstrations joined by students, civil society organisations and human rights activists were held in Manipur on that day to express solidarity with the activist. (Data source: South Asia Terrorism Portal)

 

Yearly Assessment 2013

The understanding between the PLA and the CPI-Maoist appeared to have suffered during 2013. This was observed by Shambhu Singh, Joint Secretary (Northeast) in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). On 29 May 2013 he said that the link between Maoists and Manipur's PLA had been broken due to logistical problem in Myanmar and strong presence of Security Forces along the India-Myanmar border. He added that the relationship between these two rebel outfits had disintegrated over the preceding year, after the PLA shifted their training camps to Taga in the Northern part of Myanmar.

Manipur witnessed a decline in insurgency related fatalities. The total number of fatalities declined from 110 in 2012 to 55 in 2013. The year recorded 76 incidents of bomb blast, in which 24 people were killed and 103 were injured. On the other hand, 107 incidents of explosion had been recorded in 2012, though the total fatalities were nine, and 90 persons were injured. Militant fatalities registered a sharp decline in 2013, with 28 killed, as against 73 in 2012. There were 13 incidents of encounters between militants and security forces, resulting in 15 militant fatalities, in 2013, while 2012 registered a total of 33 encounters, in which 48 militants were killed. No security force personal was killed in these encounters.

The year also saw a decline in fratricidal clashes between Naga militants. There were at least 10 clashes between the Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) – at times a combined force of ZUF and Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland–Khaplang (NSCN-K) – and the NSCN-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM), which resulted in 25 fatalities in 2012. On the other side, there were just seven such incidents and nine fatalities throughout 2013. In one major incident, on 12 November 2013, three ZUF militants were killed and one NSCN-IM cadre was injured, in a fierce five-hour gun-battle between NSCN-IM and ZUF cadres near Bhalok village in Tamenglong district. The injured NSCN-IM cadre succumbed to his injuries on 17 January 2014.

Throughout 2013, there were at least 23 recorded incidents of abductions resulting in 40 abductions; as against 30 registered incidents involving 46 abductions in 2012. Only 14 incidents of extortion were recorded in 2013, as against 35 in 2012.

On 9 September 2013, 149 cadres belonging to three different underground organisations laid down arms and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Suspension of Operations (SoO) pact with the Government. The groups that laid down arms included 44 cadres of the Nongdrenkhomba faction of Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP-Nongdrenkhomba), 50 of the Kuki National Liberation Front (KNLF) and 55 of the Kuki Revolutionary Front (KRF).

The State Government on 18 May decided to enter into a peace accord with the rebel group UPPK. Forty five UPPK leaders had laid down arms on 5 February at the border town of Moreh in Chandel district. From 21-22 May State Government representatives, including Principal Secretary (Home), Suresh Babu, and the Union Joint Secretary in charge of the Northeast, Shambhu Singh, held a series of talks with representatives of the KCP-Lamphel, KYKL-MDF and the URF in New Delhi. On 23 May, peace talks with three insurgent groups [URF, KCP-Lamphel and KYKL-MDF] that had signed separate tripartite MoU with Centre and State Government commenced. On 14 February 2012, the three militant groups entered into separate MoUs for peace dialogue with Government of India and Government of Manipur. The first round of peace talks was held on 22 May. The three groups have submitted their demands from the Government during the talks, the source said, adding officials of both Centre and State Government have hinted of granting their demands. On 24 May, the UPPK signs a tripartite MoU with the Central and Manipur Governments joining the peace process during a home coming ceremony in Imphal.

During the year, 368 militants were arrested against 609 in 2012. The year recorded seven incidents of attacks on non-locals, resulting in 12 fatalities and 39 persons injured. In the worst attack, on 13 September 2013, at least nine migrant labourers from Assam were killed and another 11 were injured in an explosion inside a working shed located on the slab cover put up over Naga Nullah (drain) at Nagamapal in Imphal West district. While five persons died on the spot, four succumbed to their injuries later. The year also saw an intensive campaign against ‘illegal migrants’ in the State by the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS), a umbrella body of several Hill and Valley based civil organizations demanding introduction of the ILP system in the State.

The year also witnessed the Kuki State Demand Committee (KSDC) renewing its demand for the creation of a separate ‘Kuki State’, an area covering around 65 per cent of the whole territory of Manipur, spread over five Hill districts: Churachandpur, Chandel, Senapati, Tamenglong and Ukhrul. A SoO between the Government and the two umbrella organizations of Kuki outfits, KNO and the United Peoples Front (UPF) was extended for one more year, with effect from 30 August 2013, at a tripartite meeting held at New Delhi.

On 15 August 2013, Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh had declared that his Government was committed to the protection of the State's territorial integrity. Any attempt to disintegrate the State in the form of 'Alternative Arrangements' or Kuki Statehood was impossible and not permissible, the Chief Minister asserted. Also, on December 8, 2013, the Union Home Ministry's Joint Secretary (Northeast), Shambhu Singh, had observed that it is still uncertain when the vexed Naga issue could be resolved and that, currently, nothing was certain on what the outcome of the ongoing peace talks with the NSCN-IM would be. Admitting that the dialogue with the Isak-Muivah led faction of the Naga rebel group had not seen any concrete progress, the Joint Secretary disclosed that the outfit had submitted its charter of demands in July 2011, after abandoning the demands for sovereignty, unification of Naga areas and Nagalim (Greater Nagaland). He noted that, the involvement and consent of the Governments of Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland was necessary, regarding the NSCN-IM's demands.

The two Naga outfits, the Manipur Naga Revolutionary Front (MNRF) and United Naga People’s Council (UNPC), merged to form a new group, the Manipur Naga People’s Front (MNPF). Though as a whole there was a decline in militantcy related incidents or killing in Manipur during the year, insurgency violence, ethnic demands and rivalries, and the state of no visible solution to the conflicts remained unchanged.

 

Yearly Assessment 2012

Insurgency violence in Manipur recorded a rising trend during 2012 as compared to the previous year. However, intensified security operations across the State resulted in the killing of 73 militants during the year against 30 militants killed in 2011. The state cabinet decided to extend the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) for more than a year from November 30. The 'fast-unto-death' by social activist Irom Sharmila against AFSPA entered the 12th year.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a charge sheet on 11 July against three PLA (People’s Liberation Army) militants for waging war against the country by imparting training and supplying arms and ammunition to the banned CPI (Maoist) cadres. The investigation established that in June 2006 PLA leadership met the top leaders of CPI (Maoist). In 2008, some of the top ranking CPI (Maoist) members met PLA members in a foreign country and signed a joint declaration for unified actions of waging war against India.

The number of insurgency related fatalities was 110 in 2012- an increased by 69.23 per cent over the 65 recorded in 2011. While the number of civilian fatalities remained the same, fatalities among the Security Forces increased from 10 in 2011 to 12 in 2012. There was a two-and-a-half fold increase in militant fatalities, from 30 in 2011 to 73 in 2012. There were 46 abductions recorded in 30 registered incidents, as compared to 32 abductions in 14 reported incidents in 2011. Extortion continued to remain a major concern in the State, with at least 35 incidents in 2012. In 2011, 40 incidents were recorded. Incidents of violence were reported from all the nine Districts of Manipur, both in 2011 and 2012.

The year witnessed factional fight among various militant groups, kidnapping of persons by suspected militants for ransom, forced recruitment of young children in the rank of militants or insurgents, frequent blockade on national highways by hill-based organisations to press various demands including formation of smaller states along ethnic lines, frequent non-publication of local dailies because of threats from militants, and surrender of militants. On September 26, 114 rebels belonging to different groups surrendered before the chief minister along with huge cache of arms and ammunition.

Coming to the peace process, the State remained a major player in negotiations for a ‘solution’ to the ‘Naga issue’. On 10 October 2012, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said, "I have been talking to the Chief Ministers of both Arunachal and Manipur, and we are trying to reach a consensus on this.” The Kukis in Manipur opposed the talks, threatening to renew their demand for statehood, even as the Meiteis vehemently rejected the talks, claiming that settlement proposals would disturb the ‘unity of Manipur or its territorial integrity’.

On 2 November 2012, the Kuki National Organization (KNO), an umbrella organization of 16 Kuki militant groups, threatened to resume armed struggle and to ‘secede from Manipur’ if the Centre did not begin talks with them. Meanwhile, the Suspension of Operations (SoO) pact signed between the two umbrella bodies of KNO and UPF, the Central Government and the State Government, in August 2005, which was extended by three months on 31 August 2012, expired on 22 November 2012. A 2 January 2013 report stated that, Joint Secretary (Northeast) Shambhu Singh was to finalize the modalities with the two Kuki militant formations to initiate formal peace talks at the earliest.

On the other hand, the United Committee Manipur (UCM), the apex body of the Meiteis, on 18 October 2012, categorically stated that it would demand ‘pre-merger status’ of Manipur if the ongoing political dialogue between NSCN-IM and GoI disturbed the unity or territorial integrity of Manipur in any way. UCM argues that Manipur was ‘forcibly merged’ with India on 15 October 1949. On 26 October 2012, the United Naga Council (UNC), the main apex body of the Nagas, asserted that a peaceful parting of the Nagas in Manipur and the Meiteis, as good neighbours, was the only way to avert a catastrophic situation that would arise out of the prolonged 'forced union of the two'. Conspicuously, the growing ‘unity’ of valley based militant groupings, turf war-related rivalries among Naga militant groupings, and ethnic tensions between the three principle ethnic groups – Kuki, Naga and Meitei – continued to undermine peace efforts in the State, notwithstanding the earlier tainted recovery.

Towards to end of the year, the death of a journalist on 23 December in police firing during protests against the public molestation of an actor by NSCN-IM rebels flared up unrest in the state. The year saw the CORECOM (Coordination Committee of seven valley based militant groups--UNLF, RPF, PREPAK, PREPAK-PRO, KYKL, KCP, UPPK), which was formed in July 2011, extending its activities beyond Imphal to Chandel hill district bordering Myanmar. The rebels exploded a powerful bomb at an army office near Manipur Raj Bhawan in September. According to officials, more than 20 insurgent groups are now operating in Manipur.

 

Yearly Assessment 2011

Manipur Still remains a serious insurgency-hit state even though the number of casualties in insurgency-related incidents has gone down. The security forces have achieved good success in counter-insurgency operations over the last few years and it continued this year too. The protests against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) also continued in Manipur.

The demand for holding a plebiscite to decide Manipur’s sovereignty gained momentum in the state with the jailed ‘chairman’ of the insurgent group United National Liberation Front (UNLF), RK Meghen alias Sanayaima declining peace talks with the government. On February 21, 2011 he said that the outfit would lay down arms before United Nations authorities if the Centre allowed a plebiscite in Manipur in the presence of UN representatives and arrange for the deployment of UN peacekeeping forces in the State. The demand is getting strong with civil society groups and prominent personalities from the state like former Chief Minister of Manipur and state chief of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Radhabinod Koijam joining the process.

In a bid to oust people not native to Manipur the KCP-MC Lanheiba Faction on 3 March, requested the alleged non-natives to leave the state. Close to this on 10 March, KCP-MC hurled a bomb at the Ananda Singh Academy near Raj Bhawan. The incident in Imphal’s Eastern district however, hurt no one.

A powerful bomb went off at the Khuman Lampak Sports Stadium Complex in Imphal West district on 28 May injuring three persons. During the tripartite talks held in the Senapati district between the State-Central Governments and the United Naga Council (UNC) on 30 June, UNC’s demand for an ‘Alternative Agreement’ for the Nagas living in Manipur was turned down. In an attempt to press their demand for non-inclusion of Naga dominated lands in the proposed Sadar Hills district, the UNC on 21 August called for an economic blockade on the National Highways linking Manipur with Nagaland and Mizoram.

In June 2011, there were reports that insurgent outfits in the Northeast like the NSCN-K, ULFA, anti-talk faction of the NDFB, United National Liberation Front (UNLF), Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF) and People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) were in a process to come together under an umbrella body. UNLF’s jailed chief RK Meghen has confirmed this report.

Meanwhile, the demands for repeal of the AFSPA continued in the state. Irom Sharmila entered the 11th year of her fast-unto-death against the act. Chief Minister of Manipur, O Ibobi Singh said on March 17, 2011 that considering the present turmoil in the state with multiple issues of insurgency related problems, the total lifting of the Act from the state was not possible. He also stated that the complete repealing of AFSPA is not the call of the State government and the Central government has to agree with that.

On January 14, 2011, reports in a local newspaper, Nagaland Post stated that the NSCN-IM and Kuki National Organization (KNO) signed a MoU demarcating their respective areas in the hill areas of Manipur. The 'MoU' was signed between KNO President P S Haokip and NSCN-IM General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah in October 2010 in the presence of leaders of Kuki Inpi, Kuki Nampi Palai, Kuki Students' Organisation, UNC, ANSAM, NSF and Naga Peoples' Movement for Human Rights. According to the 'MoU', the Hill areas presently demarcated as Churachandpur and Chandel districts of Manipur, the autonomous Sadar Hills Region of Senapati district and all Kuki villages in Ukhrul, Senapati and Tamenglong districts contiguous to Chandel, Sadar hills and Churachandpur belonged to the Kuki people and shall form a Kuki state. Likewise, the Hill areas presently demarcated as Ukhrul and Tamenglong districts of Manipur, all Naga villages in Sadar Hills region of Senapati, Chandel and Churachandpur districts, the areas in Senapati district other than the Sadar Hills Autonomous region belonged to the Naga people and shall be integrated into 'greater Nagalim.' It was also agreed that the Kuki villages in the interior of Ukhrul, Tamenglong and areas of Senapati district other than the Autonomous district Region of Sadar Hills would remain within 'greater Nagalim'. The MoU stated that the Naga villages in the interiors of Sadar Hills Autonomous Region in Senapati district, Chandel and Churachandpur districts shall remain within Kuki state.

The peace talks with the Kuki militant groups under ceasefire are yet to start properly in Manipur. The government is in Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement with two consortiums of Kuki militant groups, Kuki National Organization (KNO) and United Peoples’ Front (UPF). On March 2011, they appealed to the government to initiate a joint meeting with the two umbrella groups of the Kuki militants who are under the SoO while maintaining that the Union government has so far met the two groups only separately.

In a major turn of events on 14 June, 40 PULF Umar Farooque faction cadres including senior leaders surrendered at Mantripukhri in Imphal West before Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh.

Militant g roups under the Kuki National Organisation and the United Peoples’ Front held talks with officials of the Centre and State Governments at New Delhi, agreeing to extend agreements for another year starting 21 August. Forty three members of the United Tribal Liberation Army (UTLA), met Chief Minister Ibobi Singh on 24 October to explore a Suspension of Operations (SoO) Agreement . On the other hand UNC elected a new president on 24 September to expedite their demands for an ‘Alternative Agreement’.

It was speculated that PLA’s plans are backed by ISI and China. According to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), PLA trained Maoists in tactical warfare in the jungles of Saranda of Jharkhand between 11 September and 20 November 2010 and plans to train further during 2012. On 1 October 2011, arrested PLA leaders confessed to supplying Maoists with arms. NIA also hinted on a meeting held between PLA and Maoist leaders at Champhai in Mizoram on 15 July 2010.

Some 120 militants surrendered this year as against 221 in 2010 mostly due to the Government’s support to surrender interventions.

The state of Manipur is yet to achieve peace and tranquillity. The insurgent groups in the state are still active and are engaged with the security forces. The forces have achieved quite a considerable success in the past two years but there is still time for the arrival of a lasting peace in the region.

Yearly Assessment 2010

Manipur, which is considered as the most insurgency-hit state in the Northeast, saw a steep decline in insurgency-related fatalities from 416 in 2009 to 134 in 2010. The 134 fatalities in 2010 included 103 militants, 24 civilians and 7 Security Force personnel in 1,086 recorded incidents, as against 416 persons, including 321 militants, 77 civilians and 18 SF personnel, killed in 950 incidents in 2009.

The major insurgency-related incidents of 2010 were:

February 11: Three suspected militants were shot dead by security forces during an encounter at Nambasi village under the Kasom Khullen sub-division in Ukhrul district.

February 17: At least five People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) militants were shot dead by security force personnel during an encounter in Chandel district.

March 2: Three suspected cadres of the Military Defence Force faction of the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) were shot dead by a rival faction in the Kamuching Hills under the Yairipok Police Station in Thoubal district.

March 21: Four militants of United Tribal Liberation Army (UTLA), a newly formed militant group, are killed inside the Longpi Government High School in Tamenglong district.

May 14: Five suspected Pakan Revolutionary Army (PRA) militants were shot dead by security forces in Chandel district.

July 21: 18 militants were killed and four were injured in a clash between the combined cadres of the Kuki Liberation Army (KLA) and Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA), on the one hand, and the Prithvi faction of the Kuki National Front (KNF), on the other, in the Seijang Hill area on the border between the Imphal East and Senapati districts.

October 6: Manipur Police commandos gun down four militants of Kangleipak Communist Party (Mobile task force) at Yumnam Khunou Mamangpat, Mutum Yangbi area, about 28 km from Imphal.

Security Forces achieved many significant successes in the year 2010. They were able to arrest many top leaders of the insurgent outfits in Manipur. Ningthoujam Tomba alias Koireng, the military chief of KYKL, was arrested from Matigara of Darjeeling district in West Bengal on March 14, 2010. Further, Gopeshwar aka Athouba, the ‘chief' of the Military Defense Faction of KYKL was arrested on April 2, 2010, from Shillong in Meghalaya. Two chief operatives belonging to the Lamyanba Khuman group of the Military Council faction of the KCP were also arrested by a combined team of Manipur Police and Mizoram Police from Aizawl town in the night of March 15, 2010. But the biggest catch was that of Rajkumar Meghen, the ‘chairman’ of United National Liberation Front (UNLF), who was arrested on November 31, 2010 from Motihari in East Champaran district of Bihar. He had earlier gone missing after being reportedly arrested in Bangladesh in September 2010.
A number of militants also surrendered in the year. On September 21, 2010, 120 cadres of the Samuel faction of the KNF laid down arms the Assam Rifles and Churachandpur district Police. On September 28, 2010, 12 cadres belonging to the Pakan Reunification Army (PRA), including its ‘secretary’ Nungchin (53), surrendered before the security forces along with arms and ammunition in a formal surrender ceremony at Mantripukhri in Imphal West District. The Kuki National Front (KNF) also deposited its arms and ammunition at a designated camp at Natheljang in Sadar Hills of Senapati district on September 15, 2010. It was already under ceasefire agreement with the government since August 2005.

However, though the number of incidents of violence has decreased in Manipur, the extortion network still runs large in the state. The insurgents still target the government offices and officials, educational institutions, health centres, commercial establishments and as well the common people and extract levies from them.

Manipur turned tense on the news of the visit of NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah to his native village Somdal in Ukhrul district of Manipur on the first week of May 2010. The Manipur State Cabinet on April 30, 2010 decided not to allow entry of Muivah in Manipur as it considered that there are possibilities of disturbances in the state if the NSCN-IM leader comes to Manipur. It clamped Section 144 of Cr PC in the Senapati district and brought in additional forces in order to prevent entry of Muivah in Manipur. After this decision of the government, seven Naga MLAs resigned protesting the move. On May 6, 2010, the situation in Mao border gate, through which Muivah was expected to enter Manipur, turned tense. A number of locals stormed a temporary security barrack which lead the security personnel resort to firing leaving three locals dead and fifty others, including women, injured. After this incident and at the request of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Muivah postponed his visit to Somdal and camped himself in Viswema village near the Mao gate on the inter-state border of Nagaland and Manipur.

After the Manipur government denied entry to Muivah, various Naga tribal groups launched an indefinite economic blockade in Manipur. An economic blockade was already in place in Manipur from April 11, 2010 by Naga groups residing in Manipur protesting the state government’s decision to hold autonomous council elections and after the state government denied the entry of Muivah, the Naga groups continued with the blockade. Hundreds of trucks carrying essentials and medicines were stranded in the adjoining state of Nagaland with protesters blocking the National Highway 39, the main lifeline to Manipur. Eventually, on June 5, 2010, the Central Government persuaded Muivah to leave Vishwema village where he had been camping since May 6, 2010. The blockade of NH-39 was lifted on June 18, 2010 after negotiations with different Naga groups.

The year 2010 saw the increasing nexus of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) and insurgent groups of the Northeast. In Manipur, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and PREPAK have established links with the CPI-Maoist. Kanchan, the West Bengal State ‘secretary’ of the CPI-Maoist, who was arrested on December 3, 2010, revealed during interrogation that the Maoists in West Bengal had received a huge cache of arms and ammunition from PREPAK.

The security forces have gained significant success against the insurgents in Manipur in 2010. The government is now in a position in which it can work effectively to eradicate insurgency from the state. For this it has to take measures for development of economy and infrastructure in the state. Only then the situation in Manipur would be stable and it would cease to be the most trouble state of the Northeast.