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Protests in Manipur to demand scrapping of tripartite ceasefire pact with Kuki-Chin militant outfits

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Imphal, Feb 27 (IANS) Protests were held in Meitei community-dominated districts in the Valley region of conflict-torn Manipur on Tuesday to demand that the government scrap the tripartite ceasefire deal - Suspension of Operations (SoO) - with the Kuki-Chin militant groups.

The protests were held a day before the commencement of the crucial Assembly session which will have five sittings.

A total of 25 militant groups drawn from Kuki-Chin-dominated districts inked the SoO pact with the Centre and state government in 2008. According to the protesters, the armed groups have been allegedly breaching the ceasefire ground rules, attacking the Meitei community in the ongoing ethnic conflict spanning around ten months, and indulging in narco-terrorism in collaboration with foreign militants.

Tuesday’s protests, staged by a number of civil bodies and women vigilante groups, besides seeking to invalidate the SoO, also urged the government to remove Assam Rifles from the state, accusing the paramilitary forces of siding with Kuki militants since the conflict unfolded in the state on May 3 last year.

The Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), a prominent civil body of the state, has also submitted a representation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to annul the SoO pact with the Kuki militants.

As the validity of the ceasefire deal, which has been extended periodically, expires on February 29, a large number of MLAs have been urging the government to take a decision in the Assembly session on unanimously to annulling the pact.

The opposition Congress, on the other hand, has urged the state government to reserve a day during the session for a discussion on the current situation besetting the state.

State Congress President and senior party legislator, Keisham Meghachandra Singh, citing the special parliament sessions convened during India-Pakistan and India-China wars, urged the government to allow the discussion.

Meghachandra Singh, at a media briefing at the state party head office in Imphal, said that the party MLAs would raise the current issue through different procedures of the house like calling attention motion, short duration discussion, and private members resolution.

--IANS

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