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COCOMI moves PM on SoO agreement with Chin-Kuki groups

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Guwahati, Feb 26: The Coordination Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) has urged the central government to exercise caution and refrain from extending the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement with Chin-Kuki narco-terrorist groups without thorough scrutiny and reassessment.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, COCOMI expressed concern over the recent escalation of violence in Manipur, stating that “failure to heed caution would risk further destabilisation of Manipur and compromise the safety and security of its citizens”.

“As the expiry date of the SoO pact with Chin-Kuki narco-terrorist groups approaches on February 28, 2024, we are compelled to express our deep concerns. Despite numerous extensions since 2008 under the guise of political dialogue, progress in the peace process remains elusive. Furthermore, there have been repeated and flagrant violations of the agreement’s ground rules, exacerbating the already volatile situation in Manipur,” the committee stated in the letter to the Prime Minister.

“Recent escalations of violence in Manipur have provided stark evidence of the direct involvement of Kuki militant groups in targeted attacks against the Indian Army and state police personnel. This reality underscores the urgent need for caution and re-evaluation of any decisions regarding the extension of the SoO agreement,” it said.

The committee observed that numerous instances of SoO violations presented a compelling justification for the demand to abrogate the SoO agreement between Kuki militants and the Government of India.

“These breaches not only demonstrate a flagrant disregard for the terms of the agreement but also pose a significant threat to peace and stability in the region. The continued engagement of SoO cadres in criminal activities, including attacks on civilians, involvement in the narcotics trade, and flouting of Indian citizenship laws, undermines the integrity of the agreement and erodes trust in the peace process,” it stated.

The committee therefore sought abrogation of the SoO agreement while urging the Centre to take immediate and decisive action to address SoO ground rule violations and illegal activities perpetrated by Chin-Kuki narco-terrorist groups.

It further called upon the central government to prioritise the safety and security of the indigenous people of Manipur above all other considerations in any decision-making process.

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