In the last many years, many chief ministers of Manipur attempted to resolve the decades-old insurgency problem in Manipur but could not succeed.
However, Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren in his second term is so confident and determined to end the insurgency in Manipur in the next five years through political dialogues. He is not just saying the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will end the insurgency in Manipur. Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren seems very firm and definite by setting the timeline to end the insurgency in the next five years.
Significantly, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren’s statement to end isurgency in Manipur appears to be in tune with what Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on the same day in connection with the signding of Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) between the Government of India, Government of Assam and representatives of eight Adivasi Groups of Assam in New Delhi on September 15 that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Central Government has decided that before 2024, border disputes between the states of the North East and all disputes related to armed groups will be resolved.
Union Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah presided over the signing of historic agreement between Government of India, Government of Assam and representatives of eight Adivasi Groups in New Delhi today. The agreement was signed to end decades-old crisis of Adivasis and tea garden workers in Assam. Groups that signed the agreement included BCF, ACMA, AANLA, APA, STF, AANLA (FG), BCF (BT) and ACMA (FG) according to Home Ministry release.
On the occasion of the agreement signed on September 15, the Union Home Minister said that in accordance with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a peaceful and prosperous Northeast, this agreement will prove to be another important milestone in the direction of making Northeast extremism free by 2025. He said that after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, many efforts have been made in the direction of making the Northeast peaceful and developed, the most important of which is to establish peace in the Northeast.
According to the release, the Union Home Minister said that in the last three years, the Government of India, the Government of Assam and other governments of the North East have entered into several agreements among themselves and with various extremist groups. NLFT agreement in 2019; BRU-REANG and Bodo accord in 2020; Karbi Anglong agreement in 2021; and Assam-Meghalaya Inter-State Boundary Agreement in 2022; which resolved around 65 per cent of border disputes between the two states. He said that the Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a record that it has fulfilled 93 percent of the promises made under all the agreements signed so far and as a result, peace has been restored in the entire Northeast including Assam.
Further, the Union Home Minister said that since 2014, around 8,000 insurgents have joined the mainstream of society by laying down their arms, expressing their confidence in several steps taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for peace and prosperity of the Northeast. The year 2020 recorded the lowest number of insurgency incidents in the last two decades. In comparison to 2014, there has been a 74 percent reduction in the incidents of insurgency in 2021. In the same period, there has been a 60 percent reduction in the casualties of security forces and 89 percent in the number of civilian casualties.
The latest security situation of the Northeast according to the Home Ministry
|Years||Incident||Extremist killed||Extremist arrested||SFs killed||Civilian killed||Extremist surrendered||Arms surrendered||Arms recovered||Persons
|2022 (upto 31.08.2022)||158||06||417||02||06||793||37||155||77|
According to Home Ministry sources, the comparative data shows as below:
|(June 2006-May 2014)||(June 2014-August 2022)||Change|
|Deaths of SFs||304||128||58% Reduction|
|Civilian Deaths||1,890||419||78% Reduction|
In the case of Manipur, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren seems to be more confident and determined to end the insurgency during his second term as 13 cadres belonging to two valley-based proscribed underground groups laid down arms and ammunition on September 15 in a Homecoming Ceremony organised by the State Home Department in the Banquet Hall of First Manipur Riffles in Imphal.
Speaking at the State-organised Homecoming Ceremony of 13 cadres including 12 cadres of Kangleipak Communist Party-People’s War Group, KCP(PWG) and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) Chief Minister Biren said that with the modified ‘Scheme for Surrender-cum-Rehabilitation’, the number of surrendered UG cadres have been increasing in the last five years.
Justifying the increase in the number of surrendered underground (UG) cadres, CM Biren said the surrendered UG cadres are provided proper benefits under the schemes and hence, the number of incidents related to insurgency has also been decreasing over the last five years.
This has been complimented by a press release issued by the PRO of Manipur Police on the same day that under the revised scheme for Surrender-cum-Rehabilitation of Militants in the North East States, 2018 of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, rehabilitation benefits given to the surrendered cadres included a one-time financial grant of Rs 4 lakh to each surrenderee. The amount will be kept in a bank in their names as a fixed deposit for a period of three years, monthly stipends of Rs 6,000 per person and incentives for surrendered weapons. The surrenderees will stay in a rehabilitation camp for three years.
Another reason of Chief Minister Biren’s confidence in ending insurgency in the next five years is the increase in the number of participants at the Independence Day celebration, Har Ghar Tiranga campaign and others are examples that people have started supporting nationalism according to him. He also said that central agencies should also be aware of the changes made with the coming of the BJP-led government.
The Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren said that the present government is committed to ending insurgency in Manipur in the next five years and has already taken up initiatives to convince the insurgency groups through political dialogue.
More importantly, Chief Minister Biren also warned that no one should try to sabotage the process of ending insurgency in Manipur and to tarnish the image of Manipur.
He said that some people are trying to sabotage the present insurgency situation in Manipur as recently while one active cadre of a proscribed underground outfit was arrested along with explosive materials and 119 monetary demand letters with different signatories. The law-and-order situation of Manipur is getting better and with the development of intelligence any culprits within the state can be arrested in seconds, Biren said.
Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren said Manipur has been suffering due to insurgency problems since the 1970s. However, the government is committed to bring an end of insurgency in Manipur within the next five years through political dialogue. He also cautioned some politically vested interest groups not to try to defame Manipur by playing ethnic based politics.
While saying to end the insurgency in Manipur in the next five years through political dialogues Chief Minister Biren also said the insurgents who are yet to surrender should do so to the government to join the mainstream. Here arises, the question – Aren’t political dialogues and call to surrender to join the mainstream contradictory?
Now, it will be important to note that the insurgency in Manipur is mainly due to the protracted conflict between Manipur and India after Manipur’s merger to India on October 15, 1949 and besides others. And if Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren can end the insurgency in the protracted complex conflict situation of Manipur in next five years with his present approach many conflict resolution and peacebuilding practitioners and experts of the world will have to learn a lot from him.
Senior Editor: Imphal Review of Arts and Politics