Formed on November 24, 1964, the United National Liberation
Front (UNLF) is the first militant outfit to have been
founded in the valley areas of Manipur. The outfit aims
at establishing an independent socialist Manipur. Manipur
People’s Army (MPA) is the armed wing of the outfit
which has observed its 22nd raising day on February
8, 2009. Today, UNLF is the most potent group in the
state, carrying out violent actions.
The founder leader of the outfit is Areambam Samarendra
Singh. Currently, it is headed by Rajkumar Meghen alias
Sana Yaima who is the chairman of the outfit. Th Sanachou
is the general secretary of the outfit and A Wangpa
is the defence secretary of the outfit. Ksh Yoiheiba
is the senior publicity officer of UNLF’s publicity
department. According to Imphal police, the outfit’s
current cadre strength is somewhere between 1,500 to
1,700. Successful recruitment drives have ensured more
or less undisturbed cadre strength for the outfit over
the years. Many of the cadres have access to and are
trained in the use of most sophisticated weapons. The
outfit has several training camps in Myanmar and Bangladesh.
The outfit’s activities have been reported from all
the districts located in the valley areas of the state.
On occasions, the UNLF has also trespassed into the
hill areas of the state to carry out activities targeting
the tribal population. The outfit’s activities have
also been reported from the bordering areas between
Assam and Manipur, especially southern Assam’s Cachar
During its formative years, UNLF was patronised by
Pakistan in the erstwhile East Pakistan (Bangladesh)
and a number of UNLF cadres underwent military training
under the aegis of the Pakistani army. Subsequently,
China is known to have warmed up to UNLF, although such
ties no longer exist. On the strategic front, UNLF shares
bonhomie with the NSCN-K and the ULFA, apart from the
valley based militant outfits within the state.
In September 2006, the UNLF, forwarded a four point
formula to start a plebiscite process for resolution
of the conflict in Manipur. These included:
(1) A plebiscite under United Nations (UN) supervision
to elicit the opinion of the people of the State on
the core issue of restoration of Manipur’s independence.
(2) Deployment of a UN peace-keeping force in Manipur
to ensure that the process is free and fair.
(3) Surrender of arms by the UNLF to the UN force,
matched by the withdrawal of Indian troops and
(4) Handing over of political power by the UN in accordance
with the results of the plebiscite.
The proposal was rejected by the State government.
On November 31, 2010 Rajkumar Meghen alias Sana Yaima,
chairman of UNLF, was arrested from Motihari in East
Champaran district of Bihar. He had earlier gone missing
after being reportedly arrested in Bangladesh in September
N. Bisheswar Singh formed the People’s Liberation
Army (PLA) on September 25, 1978 with an objective of
liberating Manipur from Indian suzerainty. To begin
with, the strategic approach of the outfit to achieve
its objective involved organizing a revolutionary front
of all dissenting ethnic groups in India’s Northeast
and setting up a common front against India. The Revolutionary
People’s Front (RPF) is the political front of the PLA.
Irengbam Chaoren functions as the President of the
RPF. The current cadre strength of the PLA is estimated
at 1500, most of whom are armed. The cadres are organised
into four military divisions – SadarHill West areas
of the Valley of Manipur, Sadar Hill areas in the eastern
Valley, the hill areas in Manipur and the Imphal area.
PLA cadres have mounted several attacks targeting security
forces. Although for a number of years, the outfit adhered
to a policy of not targeting the state police forces,
of late attacks targeting police personnel have been
Extortion and arms smuggling remains the primary source
of income for the outfit. In 1990, the PLA established
a campaign called ‘Staforce’ for enforcing restrictions
on the sale of alcohol and drugs, curb political corruption,
and control immoral behaviour. Over the years, PLA has
issued several diktats with an objective of augmenting
its popularity among the civilian population. In September
2007, the outfit imposed a ban on betel leaf consumption
in the state as part of its anti-tobacco campaign. The
PLA has been active in the valley districts of the state.
In recent times, PLA cadres have also been arrested
from Assam and Meghalaya.
The outfit, like most outfits operating in the valley
areas of Manipur, has refused to enter into negotiations
with the Indian authorities.
The outfit enjoys popularity among the civilian population
and has also been patronised by the politicians of the
state. The outfit maintains several camps in Bangladesh
and Myanmar. In 1989, the outfit had announced the formation
of a government-in-exile in Bangladesh.
Formed on October 9, 1977, the People’s Revolutionary
Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) is one of the oldest militant
groups in Manipur. It demands establishment of an independent
Manipur state sans the outside migrants. In an important
announcement in October 2007, the outfit set itself
the deadline of 2015 to achieve its objective, failing
which it would abandon the path of armed revolution
R.K. Tulachandra was the founding leader of the outfit.
Following his killing in an encounter in 1986, S. Wanglen
assumed the position of commander-in-chief of the outfit.
At presentl, Achamba is the chairman of the outfit and
Tajila is the commander-in-chief. Official estimate
of the cadre strength of the outfit is about 200. Most
of its cadres are armed with sophisticated array of
weapons and have posed major challenges for the security
forces. Activities of the outfit are largely confined
to the valley districts of Manipur. Such activities
in the recent years are on a decline, mostly as a result
of the inter-outfit rivalry.
Finances of the outfit are mostly managed through extortion
targeting the civilians, traders and government employees
in the state. The outfit, for a number of years, was
known to have cornered government contracts and sold
them off to private contractors for a commission of
10 per cent. In October 2007, the outfit announced that
it is giving up the practice and also would no longer
‘tax’ the government employees and the vehicles
plying within the state. It declared that it would primarily
depend on voluntary contribution from individuals and
such contributions would be limited to Rs.15,000 per
The PREPAK, especially in the 1990s, was patronised
by the NSCN-IM. Being a constituent of the Manipur People’s
Liberation Front (MPLF), PREPAK shares strategic linkages
with the UNLF and the PLA. The outfit also maintains
few camps in Bangladesh.
Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) was formed in January
1994, with a purported objective of establishing a utopian
Manipuri society by getting rid of all vices that are
afflicting the society currently. The outfit underwent
a split in 1996 into two factions- Namoijam Oken led
KYKL-O and Achou Toijamba-led KYKL-T. Both factions,
however, reunited in 2002.
Achou Toijamba is the present chairman of the outfit
and Keisham Yaima is its general secretary. Namoijam
Oken and Toijam Ibochou head the outfit’s Meeyamgi
Yawol Lanmee (military commission). The outfit is known
to have about 500 cadres some of whom are armed. The
outfit has access to the most sophisticated weapons
like AK series rifles and RPG and explosives. It mostly
operates in the valley districts of Imphal East, Imphal
West, Bishnupur and Thoubal. Like every militant outfit
operating in Manipur, extortion remains the primary
source of income for the KYKL.
With the aim in rebuilding a vice free Manipuri society,
the outfit has launched operations against drug trade,
corruption in public offices and all activities that
the outfit considers as signs of decadence. In 2001,
the outfit started Operation New Kangleipak (Kangleipak
being the ancient name for Manipur), a high profile
campaign to clean up the educational system in Manipur.
KYKL is mostly known for the diktats issued by its information
and publicity wing. Such diktats have ranged from imposing
certain dress code on women to banning chewing of tobacco.
Although such diktats have been greatly dissented, the
fear of reprisal has made people fall in line. On several
occasions, the outfit abducts students indulging in
malpractices during examinations and officials in the
education department to punish them by shooting at their
KYKL operates in the valley districts of Manipur and shares
a close nexus with the other militant outfits operating
in the valley. Outside Manipur, it maintains strategic
linkages with the NSCN-IM. It has two camps in Bangladesh
and one camp in Burma. Its weaponry includes sophisticated
weapons like AK-47, Rocket Launchers and self loading
rifles (SLR). Extortion is the main source of funding
for the outfit.
The Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) was formed in December
2000 at Saikul of Manipur’s Senapati district,
by a group of disgruntled cadres of the Kuki National
Front (KNF)’s Military Council faction. The purported
objective of the outfit is to secure a “separate
State” for the Kuki tribe within the Indian union.
In Assam, where the outfit operates in the Karbi Anglong
district, the KRA aims at the establishment of a “Kuki
National Council”, an autonomous administrative
council for the Kuki tribals.
The KRA chairman Thangkeng Hangshing was killed by
cadres of a rival militant outfit in his brother’s
house in the Srinivaspuri locality in national capital
New Delhi on 11 November 2007. The other office bearers
of the outfit include its Publicity Secretary Zet Kuki
and Information Secretary D.T. Haokip. Approximate cadre
strength of the KRA is 250, out of which about 150 cadres
are believed to be armed with assorted weapons.
The main area of operation of the outfit is in the
Saikul and Kangpokpi sub-division of the Senapati district,
Chalwa area in the Tamenglong district, Chandel and
Churachandpur district. Some cadres of the outfit are
also based in the Karbi Anglong district of Assam. Source
of income for the outfit has been extortion targeting
civilians, businessmen and vehicles passing through
the area. Demand notes are often sent to the government
offices and their dishonouring has led to abduction
of officials in the past.
The National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah
(NSCN-IM) was instrumental in training and arming the
KRA cadres. The KRA has strategic linkages with the
United Kuki Liberation Front (UKLF), the National Democratic
Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and the Dima Halim Daogah (DHD).
On the other hand, the KRA cadres have engaged in internecine
clashes with the rival Kuki National Army (KNA) cadres.
On 12 January 2005, a combined team of the UKLF and
KRA cadres had killed the KNA chief Vipin Haokip at
Diyang in the Churachandpur district.
On August 1, 2005 KRA, along with other 17 Kuki militant
outfits, signed Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreements
with the government. The agreement has been extended
up to August 22, 2010, at a meeting held on August 18,
Formed in 1988, the Kuki National Army (KNA) is the
armed wing of the Kuki National Organisation (KNO),
which describes itself as a revolutionary movement based
in the ancestral territory (Zale’n-gam) of the
Kuki tribals. The Zale’n-gam comprises the contiguous
region in Northeast India, Northwest Myanmar, and the
Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in Bangladesh.
The primary objective of the KNA is to unite all the
Kuki-inhabited areas, specifically in the Kabaw valley
of Myanmar and the Kuki inhabited areas in the hill
districts of Manipur under two Kuki states: one within
Myanmar i.e. ‘Eastern Zale’n-gam’
and the other within India, ‘Western Zale’n-gam.’
The outfit has, however, tried to fulfil its objectives
within the framework of the Indian constitution.
Brigadier Vipin Haokip was the first Chief of Army
Staff of the KNA. Following his death, Colonel S Robert
became the Chief of Army Staff in January 2005. The
KNA claims to have a cadre strength of 600, many of
whom are armed. The outfit reportedly has access to
modern weapons like automatic rifles and mortars. Its
area of operation is limited to the hill districts of
Manipur and neighbouring areas in Assam, where it mostly
carries on its extortion activities. On occasions, it
has clashed with the NSCN-IM cadres in Manipur.
KNA, over the years, has avoided confrontation with
the security forces and has, instead, petitioned the
Union Government for fulfilling its objectives. In August
2005, it entered into a formal cessation of hostilities
agreement with the security forces. The agreement was,
however, rebuffed by the Manipur state government which
said that its police force would continue its operation
against the Kuki militants. In 2007, however, the state
government agreed to respect the agreement. At present,
KNA is under a Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement
with the government and the agreement has been extended
up to August 22, 2010.
The KNA’s strategic partners include the NSCN-K,
the United National Liberation Front or the UNLF (a
major rebel group in Manipur) and the ULFA. Such linkages,
over the years, however, have considerably weakened.
People’s United Liberation Front (PULF), founded
in 1993, claims to represent the interests of the Pangal
(Muslim) community in Manipur. Incidentally, PULF is
one of the various Islamist extremist organizations
which originated in Manipur following the May 3, 1993
communal clash between the Muslims and the dominant
Meiteis in the Thoubal and Imphal (East and West) districts.
While other Islamist outfits disintegrated, PULF has
survived and has been bolstered following the May 30,
2007 merger of the Islamic National Front along with
Although the PULF aims at establishing an independent
Islamic country in India’s Northeast through the
launch of an armed revolution against the Indian state
by joining causes with other like-minded radical Islamist
outfits, it has acted mostly as a vigilante outfit over
the years. Its activities have mostly been confined
to protect the ‘values’ of the Muslim community
by imposing behavioural patterns on them. It has passed
several strictures against the consumption of drugs
and alcohol by the Muslim youths in Manipur. It has
also tried imposing dress code on Muslim girls.
The outfit’s cadre strength is estimated at
about 150. Only few of the cadres are armed. Most of
the outfit’s attacks involve the use of explosives.
Once powerful, the outfit’s strength has waned
considerably following the May 11, 2006 death of Bashir
Laskar, ‘commander in chief’ of PULF and
Mohammad Shafi alias Rami, its ‘deputy home secretary’.
The outfit mostly operates in the valley districts
of Manipur including Thoubal. In the past, it operated
in the Barpeta, Nagaon and Lakhimpur districts and the
Barak valley areas of neighbouring Assam. However, such
activities have ceased. Extortion forms the bulk of
its source of funds. In addition, few incidents of arms
smuggling involving PULF cadres have also been reported.
Strategically, PULF is linked to the NSCN-IM. The
latter is believed to have trained and armed the PULF
cadres in return for money. Official sources link PULF
with the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
A new militant outfit called the United Naga People’s
Council (UNPC) is formed and a formal announcement was
made on May 19, 2008 before the media at an unspecified
place in the Senapati district. It reportedly consists
of cadres of a splinter group of the NSCN-IM in Manipur.
The ‘president’ of the group, S.S. Max,
said that the group aims at restoring peaceful co-existence
amongst the people living in both hills and valley and
to safeguard the territorial integrity and sovereignty
of Manipur. He said the new splinter group had no enmity
with the ‘revolutionary movements’ waged
by the NSCN-IM, NSCN-K and NNC. He also said the outfit
is led by two ‘colonels’, one ‘major’,
two ‘captains’, two ‘full junior full
lieutenants’, three ‘second lieutenants’
and 20 trained cadres of the NSCN-IM, who had defected
in April 2008 and had formed the UNPC in the state on
The former Chinglemba Mangang group of PREPAK re-incarnated
itself with a new nomenclature to be known as the United
People’s Party of Kangleipak (UPPK) with its armed
wing Kangleipak People’s Army (KPA).
Announcing the formation of the new group by the old
cadres, Khuman Laishramcha, Assistant Secretary in-charge,
District Committee Member (DCM), Information and Publicity
Department, United People's Party of Kangleipak (UPPK)
informed in a press note that the party with its armed
wing founded on November 6, 2008 stand for a united
effort of all like minded revolutionary outfits operating
in the region to make a sovereign republic of Kangleipak
free from the age-old yoke of the Indian Union and its
colonial system of government once and for all.
The press note further stated that the party stand
for united endeavour and collective struggle to foster
unity, promote revolutionary comradeship and maintain
a close relationship among all the revolutionary parties
existing in the region with due respect to each other
until the common goal is reached.
The press note of the newly formed party further stated
that their party does not encourage all sorts of forcible
monetary demands and collections.
Declaring that the Chinglemba Mangang group of PREPAK
will no longer be seen or heard in the land, the press
note affirmed that the UPPK with its armed wing KPA
is pladged to carry on its revolutionary activities
under the supreme command and leadership of its sole
founder-leader Chinglemba Mangang.
On May 21, 2009, UPPK launched ‘Operation Wayel’,
with the objective of ensuring due quality in contract
works and goods supplied as well as to do away with
all forms of fraudulent practices. The outfit said that
under the operation, it would check all goods supplied
by suppliers and works executed by contractors.
Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) was formed by a dissident
group of People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak
(PREPAK), led by Y. Ibohanbi on April 13, 1980. Its
objective is to win freedom from Indian rule and formation
of an egalitarian society for the Kangleipak (Manipur)
through an armed struggle.
The founder of KCP, Y. Ibohanbi, was killed during
a security force operation in 1995. After his death,
KCP broke into many factions. There were moves to unite
these factions but there was very little success. On
August 23, 2011, the Union Minister of State for Home
Affairs, M Ramachandran said in the Lok Sabha that there
are at present 12 factions of the KCP. These factions
are KCP (Noyon), KCP-MC Lanheiba Meitei, KCP-MC Lanjaba
Meitei, KCP Lamphel, KCP City Meitei, KCP Kokkai, KCP
Nando, KCP KK Nganba, KCP-MC Ningamba and KCP-MC Lallumba.
The presence of KCP is mostly in the valley areas of
Manipur but it has been found to be engaged in extortion
and other activities in the hill districts also. These
extortion activities are the main sources of funds for
the outfit. KCP has relationship with most of the outfits
operating in the valley districts of Manipur. In its
earlier days it also maintained ties with the NSCN-IM
and the ULFA.
Manipur Naga Revolutionary Front (MNRF) was formed
in 2008 under the leadership of Allen Siro and claims
to be an autonomous revolutionary group formed to save
the territorial integrity of Manipur.
A release from the group’s publicity secretary,
C Rocky in May 2009 said that MNRF does not collect
house tax, ration tax but helps the people in the areas
it operates, although it will collect three per cent
as party funds from any development work, contract,
scheme and employees of the government offices etc.
Kuki national front (KNF) was formed under the leadership
of Ranco Thangboi Kuki on May 18, 1988. The primary
reason for the formation of the outfit was to counter
the increasing influence of NSCN-IM in the Kuki-inhabited
areas of Manipur.
The main objective of the outfit is the formation of
a separate State or Union Territory for the Kuki community,
In 1995, KNF split into two - the "presidential”
faction and the "military council” faction.
The presidential faction again split into two - Samuel
faction (KNF-S) and Zougam faction (KNF-Z).
The main area of operation of KNF is the Churachandpur
district of Manipur. It also operates in other Kuki
inhibited areas of the Chandel, Tamenglong and Senapati
districts. It has links with the other Kuki militant
outfits, with the valley-based outfits of Manipur like
UNLF and PLA. It also has ties with the NSCN-K.
In August 22, 2008, KNF (all its factions) and other
Kuki militant outfits signed the Suspension of Operations
(SoO) agreement with the central government in New Delhi.
They are at cesefire since then and its cadres are staying
in the designated camps. In March 2010, the Union Home
Secretary, G.K.Pillai met the leaders of the KNF in
Manipur and the peace talks are expected to begin soon.
There are 18 Kuki militant groups
in Manipur. Apart from Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA)
and Kuki National Army (KNA), other outfits are not
much active. These Kuki militant outfits have signed
Suspension of Operation (SoO) with Government of India
under the banner of United Peoples' Front (UPF) and
Kuki National Organisation (KNO). The agreement has
been extended up to August 22, 2010.
The groups under KNO are Kuki National Front (Military
Council), Kuki National Front (Zogam), United Socialist
Revolutionary Army (Old Kuki), United Komrem Revolutionary
Army (UKRA), Zomi Reunification Front (ZRF), Zou Defence
Volunteer (ZDV-KNO), Hmar National Army (HNA), Kuki
Revolutionary Army (Unification), Kuki Liberation Army
(KLA-KNO) and Kuki National Army (KNA).
The groups under UPF include Kuki Revolutionary Army
(KRA), Kuki National Front (KNF), United Kuki Liberation
Front (UKLF), Kuki Liberation Army (KLA-UPF), Zomi Revolutionary
Army (ZRA), Kuki National Front (S), Hmar Peoples’
Conference/ Democratic (HPC-D) and Zou Defence Volunteers
(Updated till 26 January, 2011)