Three Manipur outfits sign MoU

Imphal, Feb. 13: Three militant factions today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to end violence in a tripartite agreement between the groups, Manipur government and the Union home ministry, at a function organised here today.

Leaders of the United Revolutionary Front (URF), Kangleipak Communist Party (Lamphel) and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup-Military Defence Force (KYKL-MDF) signed the pact named Memorandum of Understanding.

The event was held at the banquet hall of the 1st Manipur Rifles in the presence of chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, deputy chief minister Gaikhangam and several other ministers.

Ninety cadres of the URF, 40 cadres of the KCP (Lamphel) and 67 cadres of the KYKL (MDF) were also present and 139 weapons brought by them were handed over to the Manipur government. Three Kangleipak Communist Party factions form the URF.

On behalf of Shambhu Singh, joint secretary (Northeast), Union home ministry, the Manipur government signed identical MoUs separately with the groups.

According to the agreement, the cadres would stay in designated camps and before they are set up, they would stay in temporary camps at the army and Assam Rifles posts.

The cadres would be given a monthly stipend of Rs 4,000 each per month for a period of two years and a fixed deposit of Rs 2.5 lakh each, which could be withdrawn with interest, after two years.

The MoU contains ground rules to be observed by both the government and the cadres. It also states that vocational training would be given to the cadres and efforts would be made to recruit them in paramilitary forces.

With three more factions signing the MoU, the Manipur militant groups entering the peace process since 2005, went up to 24.

Ibobi Singh and home minister Gaikhangam considered the signing of the MoU today, as a significant stride towards restoring peace and normality in the state.

"We decided to come back to the national mainstream after our efforts could not yield any good results," Athouba, chairman of the KYKL (MDF) faction, said.

He cautioned the Union home ministry and the state government that if the government was not sincere and serious in their efforts to offer them normal life, the cadres could go back to jungles.

Lalheiba, chief of army staff of URF, said the cadres decided to return to the national mainstream for peace.

Ibobi Singh assured the cadres that his government would make all efforts to ensure that they were properly rehabilitated and their lives were safe and secure.

Both the chief minister and Gaikhangam appealed to other groups to come forward and join the peace process for protecting the integrity of Manipur and making it one of the most vibrant and peaceful states in the country.

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