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Banned UNLF(P) delaying surrender of cadre, weapons despite ceasefire agreement, say officials

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New Delhi/Imphal, Mar 31 (PTI) The United National Liberation Front (P), a banned terror group, has failed to surrender weapons or provide a list of its members despite signing a ceasefire agreement with the Centre four months ago, officials said on Sunday, amid concerns by security agencies that its cadre were still carrying out violence in Manipur.

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Even after three rounds of talks with state authorities, the UNLF, the first Meitei terror outfit to agree to a ceasefire, has not complied with the agreed terms since the agreement was inked on November 29 last.

Concerns have been raised by security agencies over the ongoing violence in Manipur attributed to UNLF (P) members despite the ceasefire.

Led by Kh Pambei, the UNLF (P) made history by becoming the first Meitei armed group in the Imphal Valley to engage in a ceasefire agreement with the government, pledging to renounce violence.

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The UNLF(P)'s demand for camp establishment near Kuki-populated areas was resisted by security agencies, fearing a potential escalation in ethnic conflicts that have already resulted in over 200 casualties in the state.

Temporary camp arrangements have been approved in Ingourok in Thoubal district and agriculture town, Kakching Khunou, in Kakching district, the officials said.

Security agencies rejected the UNLF's objection to the presence of central paramilitary forces at the camps as also setting up camps on the foothills. Officials urged the UNLF to surrender weapons and provide a list of members for relocation.

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Recent reports indicate that UNLF members are establishing camps near Kuki settlements to target tribal populations, fostering tensions.

Despite the ceasefire agreement's intent to halt hostilities, recent incidents show UNLF (P) members are carrying out violent activities with impunity, even looting arms from security forces, the officials said.

According to reports, the cadre of the banned terror group were allegedly involved in looting arms and ammunition from the 5th India Reserve Battalion (IRB) at Chingarel in Manipur East on February 13 and opening fire at Moirangpurel on vehicles heading towards Churachandpur last month.

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The unrest escalated when reports claimed that a shooting incident in Maphou village, predominantly inhabited by the people of the Kuki ethnicity, was carried out by individuals allegedly associated with the Arambai Tenggol and UNLF (P) cadre.

These cadre of UNLF (P) were reportedly providing live updates on social media while claiming to target the Kuki community.

The ceasefire deal was envisioned to end decades-long conflicts between UNLF(P) and security forces, paving the way for community concerns to be addressed.

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Formed in 1964, the UNLF (P) has operated within and outside Indian borders.

The Centre has signed agreements with Northeastern armed groups since 2014 to quell unrest and foster growth.

Furthermore, a Suspension of Operations (SoO) with 21 Kuki-dominated groups has been in place since 2008 to maintain peace in Manipur's hilly regions. The unilateral withdrawal by the Manipur government from the SoO due to allegations of land encroachment by two Kuki insurgent groups in March has not received central government endorsement. PTI SKL TIR TIR

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