COCOMI has claimed that Manipur is emerging as the largest producer of Opium in the world and “Chin-Kuki Narco-Terrorist groups are the primary actors and SoO groups are the key players. This will have a direct impact on the youth of the nation, National Security and even more difficult situation with bigger South and South East Asian geopolitical ramification”.
If the Government of India (GoI) keeps engaging and legitimizing the “Chin-Kuki Narco-Terrorist groups” despites all the available evidences, the people of Manipur will defy everything to determine their own future and counter the emerging trends of violence in the state, said Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) spokesperson.
Addressing a press meet at the Constitution Club, New Delhi, Khuraijam Athouba, the spokesperson of COCOMI, stated that the GoI’s treatment and handling of “armed Chin-Kuki Narco-Terrorist groups” violate the fundamental rights of the Indigenous Meetei Citizens of Manipur.
Pointing out that this treatment has legitimized their existence, COCOMI accused the Union government of not taking “concrete action” despite several evidences of violating the Suspension of Operations (SoO) ground rules by “Chin-Kuki Narco-Terrorist groups”.
“This is illegal”, said Athouba and asked if the GoI is deliberately supporting “Narco-Terrorism” in the region. He said that the Director of Intelligence Bureau reported 125000 Acres of Hill areas under poppy cultivation and about 650 MT of Opium are produced annually from Manipur hill areas under Kuki dominance. This has generated “50K Crore to 65K Crore revenue generation annually. These areas are protected and managed by Armed Chin-Kuki Militants”.
“On what moral ground the Union Government is continuing political negotiation or talks with the Narco-Terrorist leaders”, saked Athouba. “If Government of India keeps engaging and legitimizing the Chin-Kuki Narco-Terrorist groups despites all these evidences, the people of Manipur will defy everything to determine our own future to fight the emerging Chin-Kuki Narco-Terrorism in Manipur”.
He also pointed out that the Indian Intelligence sources had gathered enough evidences to understand the politics behind all the violence in Manipur and yet the Union government is not doing anything to halt it. “We shall use all our people’s might to fight for our survival, for our youth generations. We shall expose the proxy game being played by the Government of India under the shadow of these SoO agreement including Narco-economy”, warned Athouba. He also alleged that the Government of India is responsible for protecting and encouraging these elements under the shadow of SoO.
As a result, “Manipur is emerging as the largest producer of Opium in the world and Chin-Kuki Narco-Terrorist are the primary actors and SoO groups are the key players which Government of India is politically legitimizing their illegal activities. This will have a direct impact on the youth of the nation, National Security and even more difficult situation with bigger South and South East Asian geopolitical ramification”.
“This is why COCOMI had raised the following slogans – “Suspension of Operation, a legal protection to Chin-Kuki Narco-Terrorist Groups in Manipur. Suspension of Operation, a legal protection to strengthen Chin-Kuki Narco-Terrorist. Suspension of Operation, a policy breeding proxy army of the Indian Army (The Assam Rifles). Suspension of Operation, a failed India’s peace policy. Suspension of Operation, Militarization of the region with Ethnic Armies.
SoO a threat to the integrity of Manipur. SoO, empowering ethnic army, enhancing ethnic divide, encouraging disintegration of territory on ethnic lines”.
BACKGROUND OF SUSPENSION OF OPERATION (SoO)
Later after the press meet, COCOMI also gave a written backgrounder to the issue of SoO. The committee had listed the following:
- Government of India desired a peace talks policy with Chin-Kuki Militants in Manipur.
- Year 1st August, 2005, first unofficial ceasefire declared by Assam Rifles without any official consent with the Government of Manipur.
- Year 22nd August 2008, formal signing of the peace talk agreement under the name of Suspension of Operation (SoO) in a tripartite mode i.e. GoI, Manipur Govt. and Kuki Militant Groups.
- Two agreements with two groups. One with United People’s Front (UPF) comprising eight (8) different Armed Militant groups. Another with Kuki National Organization (KNO) comprising of 10 different Armed Militant groups.
YEAR 2005-2023 SINCE THE SIGNING OF THE AGREEMENT SoO ACTIVITIES:
- Free movement and operation of armed Chin-Kuki Militants in Hill Areas of Manipur.
- Control over villages and civilians under the barrel of the guns
- Interference in state and district administration to serve their interest. (Enlisting of new settlers in the Indian Voter List and recognition of New Villages)
- Increasing Drug Trafficking from across the border (from Myanmar region)
- Strengthening of illegitimate Military power from illegal Drug trade
- Control over yet to be surveyed hill areas in Kuki dominated areas
- Planting of population in various unrecognized new villages across the hill areas of the state by bringing in illegal immigrants from Myanmar (Chin State, Sagaing Division, Chittagong Hill Tracks of Bangladesh etc.) (1200 New Village on government record)
- Engaging maximum illegal immigrants of the Chin-Kuki immigrants in Poppy Cultivation on daily wages for opium production. (Source: 600 INR per day daily wages for working in Poppy farms)
- Assam Rifles and Kuki Militants set up camps adjacent to each other at various locations. (37 AR with Nazareth Camp at Sugnu Serou)
- Designated Camps of armed Kuki groups located in 360 degrees around Manipur’s valley areas. (Total number of 22-24 Chin-Kuki Militant camps setup around the Manipur valley)
- Involvement of SoO armed cadres in the recent conflict violating ground rules.
- List of FIRs against SoO cadres for committing various crimes violating SoO ground rules.
- Open engagement of ZRA cadres in the conflict, hoisting flags in the foothill civilian areas of Meetei Villages and demonstration of full combat dressed cadres in Churachandpur town.
- Leader of ZRA’s citizenship in India.
- Photo evidence of Combat Dressed militants mingling with the crowd in the rally that attacked Meetei Villages on 3rd May 2023 at Torbung, Churachandpur.
- KRA direct engagement in Saikul and Dolaithabi areas.
- Security Advisor Kuldeep Singh’s official statement on 14 May, 2023 in Imphal about missing cadres from SoO designated camps.
- Presence of Lungee wearing (Myanmarese) Armed personal in Manipur conflict. One recovered dead from Serou Sugnu area on 2 June 2023. Several of them spotted by Drone VDO Footages.
- ZRA flags visible in all public gatherings held in Churachandpur.
- Narco-Economy and sharing of profits with all sections of the society including elite groups.
(The written backgrounder above is based on the press note issued by COCOMI)