Manipur Militants Threaten Fresh Offensive in December

Close on the heels of a demand for a “pre-merger status” for the state by the Manipur Forward Youth, the underground Manipur People’s Liberation Front (MPLF), an umbrella organization of major militant outfits in the state has warned that the organization would utilise “all resources”, both political and military, should New Delhi attempt alter the territorial integrity of Manipur “in the name of the ongoing peace process with the NSCN (IM)”. “We will utilise all our resources to do this,” said Paliba, general secretary of the Peoples’ Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (Prepak), a constituent of the MPLF. Both the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) and the Peoples Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (Prepak) threatened to launch decided to launch joint operations against government forces from December.

Paliba was speaking to journalists at a closely-guarded press conference in the outfit’s camp at Sajik Tampak on the Indo-Myanmar border. The militant organizations observed a “national black day” on October 15, the day on which the then princely state had merged with the Indian union, in 1949. The press conference was addressed, among others, by the “secretary (organization)” of the UNLF, Nongyai, “chief of army staff” of Prepak, Chinglemba, “president” of the Kangleipak Communist Party, Leibakmacha, and Khamkhanpao, “president” of the Zou Defence Volunteers.

Significantly, the meeting, which saw the burning of the Indian tricolour, was also attended by a large number of Meira Paibis (the now famous ‘women with the torches’ who were responsible for putting up the strongest fight yet against drug abuse in the AIDS-affected state), public leaders, and social activists from different parts of the state, particularly the valley districts. Meiteis dominate East and West Imphal, Bishnupur, Thoubal and Churachandpur, the valley districts of state, while districts such as Tamenlong, Ukhrul and Senapati are mostly populated by Tangkhul Nagas.

“The need of the hour is truthfulness among the different communities,” Paliba said at the meeting, urging the various communities of Manipur to avoid “confrontations”. In a highly vitriolic statement, Nongyai of the UNLF asked people to take note of the “divide and destroy policy of India”. Paliba also announced the launching of a “national economy policy” for the development the state.” Discussions regarding the “policy” had started” he said.

Tension ran high in Manipur after 13 top-rung NSCN (IM) leaders, including the outfit’s "home minister" Lungalang, were recently released, in what was viewed by Manipuri Meiteis as being tantamount to the Centre’s accepting the concept of a greater Nagaland, or Nagalim, as demanded by the NSCN (IM). The NSCN(IM)’s demand envisions the clubbing together of Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur and Assam under one administrative unit. The NSCN(IM) has, since its ceasefire and subsequent talks with New Delhi, put forward the issue of Nagalim as the only solution that could possibly bring to an end the decades-long Naga insurgency problem. The idea of Nagalim, as put forward by the NSCN(IM), has, however, been consistently opposed by both Manipur and Assam.

By Sobhapati Samom from Sajik Tampak (Indo-Myanmar border) (newsfiledelhi@sify.com)