Manipur govt welcomes UNLF (P) cadres; voices no compromise on State’s Sovereignty

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Imphal: Around 600 cadres of United National Liberation Front led by Kh Pambei, including their Acting Chairman, General Secretary and leaders were given a warm welcome by Manipur Government Saturday morning. UNLF, which is Manipur’s oldest armed insurgent group signed a peace pact with Centre and State Government in New Delhi on November 29. The reception ceremony was held at the Kangla Fort in Imphal. As a part of the ceremony, the cadres were feted and pigeons were released carrying the message of peace, hope and development.

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Addressing the reception ceremony, Chief Minister N Biren said signing of the peace agreement was made possible with the support, cooperation and encouragement of the people of Manipur. He claimed that 99 per cent of the people in Manipur are happy with the peace accord. Stating that human lives are very precious and many lives have been lost, the Chief Minister urged all other outfits of the region to enter peace process. He expressed his readiness to work as a facilitator for any outfit desiring to enter the peace process. He added that the process for signing of the peace agreement under the guidance and advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Home Minister Amit Shah took around 3 years. N. Biren expressed gratitude to the leaders, Central Committee, cadres and MPA of UNLF for accepting the Central government’s proposal for peace. The Chief Minister said the government is not against any community residing together in the State adding that the government is only trying to protect the communities.

Also read | Content of peace pact with UNLF confidential, can’t reveal as of now: CM N Biren 

Speaking at reception ceremony, Moirangthem Nongyai, Acting Chairperson of UNLF led by Kh Pambei reiterated that they will not surrender their weapons to Government of India until the finalisation of the ongoing peace talks. He urged the public to shun any misconception that the outfit has given up arms and surrendered to enemies and sold off their motherland. He clarified that the peace pact was signed only to prevent violence from hindering the peace talks. Nongyai recounted that the outfit was formed on November 24, 1964 with members from various indigenous communities of the state and their sole purpose was to promote and instil patriotism and love for motherland among people in the region. However, owing to unavoidable circumstances, the outfit was compelled to take up arms in 1990. He disclosed that Government of India had sent a formal acknowledgement to the outfit, that Manipur was once a sovereign independent country and only after the outfit made it clear that Manipur’s sovereignty cannot be compromised at any cost, they proceeded with the peace agreement to bring solution to the Manipur-India conflict.

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Taking part in the event, the faction’s general Secretary Chabungbam Thanil said, the government had approached the outfit leaders stating that Manipur-India conflict cannot be resolved with arms but only through a political dialogue. Subsequently, the outfit including its central committee had held an elaborate meeting and then the outfit leaders met with representatives of the Government of India in a foreign country to chalk out the peace process. Thanil made it clear that compromising Manipur’s sovereignty was not part of the peace deal at all and they would take retract their decision and take a new one if at any point, the pact goes against the outfit’s aspirations.

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Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly Thokchom Satyabrata, cabinet ministers, MLAs, Chief Secretary, DGP, Army, civil and police officers, decorated officers of paramilitary forces, family members of the outfit cadres, leaders of CSOs, Meira paibi groups, market women vendors, intellectuals and eminent personalities attend the ceremony among others.

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