Manipur’s Armed Group UNLF Signs Peace Deal, 6-Decade-Long Armed Movement Ends

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Manipur's Armed Group UNLF Signs Peace Deal, 6-Decade-Long Armed Movement Ends

Manipur’s UNLF has signed a peace agreement with the centre

Imphal/New Delhi:

Manipur’s oldest valley-based armed group UNLF has signed a tripartite peace agreement with the centre and the state government, Home Minister Amit Shah announced today in a post on X, days after Chief Minister N Biren Singh confirmed they have been in talks with the armed group that has been fighting against Indian forces for six decades.

The peace agreement brings the curtains down finally on the armed group, whose one faction was once headed by noted Imphal-based public figure RK Meghen, who left the outfit many years ago.

The United National Liberation Front (UNLF) had been fighting a guerilla war for a sovereign Manipur as the group – similar to other valley-based banned organisations like the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) – considered illegal the merger of the pre-Independence Manipur kingdom with India.

“The peace agreement signed today with the UNLF by the government of India and the government of Manipur marks the end of a six-decade-long armed movement,” Mr Shah said in the post.

“It is a landmark achievement in realising Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji’s vision of all-inclusive development and providing a better future to the youth in northeast India,” the Home Minister said.

The peace agreement signed today with the UNLF by the Government of India and the Government of Manipur marks the end of a six-decade-long armed movement.

Manipur in the past few months have seen ethnic clashes between the hill-majority Kuki tribes and the valley-majority Meiteis over a range of issues, from land and resource crunch to taking a share of the affirmative action Scheduled Tribes (ST) policy. Over 180 have died and thousands have been internally displaced.

Though an issue not directly related with the ethnic clashes, the UNLF’s signing of the historic agreement with the centre and the state is a positive development as its goal is to bring peace, strategic experts who have been tracking Manipur have said.

The UNLF had most of its bases along the dense jungles of Myanmar, just across the border with India. Experts said Manipur has been developing fast for the past 10 years, and with major railway lines coming till the valley areas soon, the state has been gradually shedding its tumultuous, insurgency-ridden past, which all could be big factors behind the weakening of the armed movements against India in the strategically important border state, known as India’s only gateway to Southeast Asia.

“A historic milestone achieved. The Modi government’s relentless efforts to establish permanent peace in the northeast have added a new chapter of fulfilment as the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) signed a peace agreement today in New Delhi,” Mr Shah said in the post today announcing the peace deal.

“UNLF, the oldest valley-based armed group of Manipur, has agreed to renounce violence and join the mainstream. I welcome them to the democratic processes and wish them all the best in their journey on the path of peace and progress,” the Home Minister said.

Mr Singh, the Manipur Chief Minister, in a post on X said the oldest valley-based armed group of Manipur has chosen the path of peace, renouncing violence to join the mainstream and embrace democracy.

“The unwavering support and vision of Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi ji for a brighter and peaceful northeast has made this possible. May this collaborative effort contribute to a harmonious and prosperous future for Manipur and the entire region,” Mr Singh said.

The UNLF signing the agreement with the centre and the state is one of the biggest peace deals with any insurgent group in the northeast since 2015, when the Nagaland-based NSCN(IM) signed a framework agreement for peace with the government led by PM Modi in its first time. The Prime Minister had described it as a “historic” step to usher in peace in the state.



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