Sinlung /
15 August 2012

Kuki Rebels Under UPF Seek Meaningful Political Dialogue

Imphal, Aug 15 : The United People's Front (UPF), one of the two apex bodies of various Kuki militant groups that are signatories of the ongoing Suspension of Operations (SoO) with the government, has demanded a meaningful political dialogue.

One of the key demands of the front, a conglomerate of six different outfits, is creation of an autonomous tribal state within the state.

Though the tripartite SoO agreement between the Centre, the state government and the 19 Kuki outfits operating in Manipur under the two apex bodies - UPF and Kuki National Organization (KNO) - was signed in August 2008, the political dialogue is yet to be initiated.

"The fifth extension of the tripartite SoO will be made very soon and it should be a very meaningful extension," said convener of UPF's Joint Monitoring Group (JMP) L Sanga Hmar.

According to the UPF functionaries, the total cadre strength of the six outfits under the front - KNF, ZRA, UKLF, HPC (D), KRA (U) and ZDV - is 800 to 1,000.

At a media conference held at KNF's 'Ebenezer camp' in Senapati district on Tuesday, Sanga, who is also defence secretary of the HPC(D), emphasized the need to hold a political dialogue with the government.

He said that the UPF has recently submitted memoranda to both the Centre and the state government with a charter of demands.

While celebrating the fifth anniversary of the UPF on Sunday, the front also extended its greetings on the occasion of Independence Day that falls on Wednesday.

On being asked, Sanga said that one of the front's major demands was creation of a 'state within the state' under the Constitution of India.

Echoing Sanga, other leaders associated with the UPF explained that the demand is an autonomous tribal state within the state.

They also decried the arrest of the front's vice-chairman and deputy commander by Mizoram Police from Silchar airport recently. The two are still in the custody of Mizoram Police.

Stating that the arrest would slow down the SoO process, they said they would put up the matter to the government for their release.

On May 18, the KNF, the oldest outfit among the SoO signatories, celebrated its silver jubilee at its Ebenezer (designated) camp. A book 'Kukiland (The Land of the Kukis)' was released on the occasion.

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