Suspension of Operations (SoO) Agreement and Manipur Govt

Suspension of Operations (SoO) Agreement and Manipur Govt

News: The state government of Manipur decided to withdraw from the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement with two hill-based tribal militant groups.

 Two hill-based tribal militant groups – Kuki National Army (KNA) and Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA) were allegedly influencing agitation among forest encroachers.

What is the SoO agreement?
 There are nearly 30 Kuki insurgent groups in Manipur, of which 25 are under tripartite Suspension of Operations (SoO) with the Government of India and the state.
 The SoO pact was signed on August 22, 2008, with the primary objective of initiating political dialogue.
 The important terms under the pact are that security forces, including state and central forces, are not to launch any operations, nor can the underground groups.
 The signatories (like UPF, and KNO) shall abide by the Constitution of India, the laws of the land and the territorial integrity of Manipur.
 They are prohibited from committing all kinds of atrocities, extortion, etc.

What is the impact of SoO agreement?
 The Kuki outfits who were initially demanding a separate Kuki state have come down to a ‘Kukiland territorial council’, which would have financial and administrative powers independent of the Manipur Assembly and government.
 As a rehabilitation package, the UG cadres living in the designated camps are given a monthly stipend of Rs 5000. Financial assistance is also being provided to maintain the designated camps.

Who are the Kuki people?
 They are an ethnic group native to the Mizo Hills (formerly Lushai) – a mountainous region in the southeastern part of Mizoram and Manipur in India.
 In Northeast India, they are present in all states except Arunachal Pradesh and some 50 tribes of Kuki peoples are recognised as STs.
 The Chin people of Myanmar and the Mizo people of Mizoram are related to the Kukis and are collectively termed the Zo

What are causes of Kuki insurgency?
 The Kuki insurgency gained momentum after ethnic clashes with the Nagas of Manipur in the early 1990s.
 While the two tribes have shared a hostile relationship since colonial times, clashes took place in the 1990s when claims of “kuki homeland” in the Manipur hills overlapped with the imagined Naga homeland of Greater Nagaland/Nagalim.
 While the Naga movement is the country’s longest-running insurgency, underground Kuki groups too have fought the Indian government for an ‘independent Kuki homeland’ since then.

What are consequences of revocation of agreement?
 It raises question about government’s intent to resolve issue and there are chances that the outfit could once again start insurgency activities threating the internal security of a very important strategic location. 

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