Naga Insurgent Group NSCN IM Helped Meitei Outfits PLA And KYKL To Destabilise Manipur: Anti-Terror Agency NIA

Naga Insurgent Group Helped Meitei Outfits To Destabilise Manipur: Anti-Terror Agency NIA

A year on, Manipur is yet to see normalcy after the Meitei-Kuki ethnic violence

Imphal/Guwahati/New Delhi:

India’s top anti-terror body NIA has said insurgents from Manipur hiding in Myanmar infiltrated the state amid the ethnic violence last year, and trained “impressionable youths” to participate in gunfights.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a chargesheet given to a court in Assam’s Guwahati on March 27 said the China-Myanmar module of the insurgent group NSCN(IM) gave logistics and other support to the proscribed terrorist organisations KYKL, and the PLA.

NDTV has seen a copy of the chargesheet.

The banned Kanglei Yaol Kanba Lup (KYKL) and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are Meitei insurgent groups. The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), or NSCN(IM), is a Naga insurgent group that signed a framework agreement with the government which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had described as a “historic” step to bring peace.

The NIA, giving a background of the case, in the chargesheet said the Centre had received intelligence about a transnational conspiracy hatched by the Myanmar-based leadership of the “terror outfits” to destabilise the security situation in Manipur, and “wage a war against the government of India”.

The KYKL and PLA leadership in Myanmar decided to infiltrate their insurgents into Indian territory to carry out terror attacks, the NIA said. To this end, the NSCN(IM) leadership promised safe passage, arms, ammunition, explosives, and other terrorist hardware to them, the NIA said in the background note which is a part of the chargesheet.

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The ethnic violence that began in May 2023 between the valley-dominant Meitei community and the Kuki-Zo tribes, who are dominant in the hill districts of southern Manipur and a few other hill areas, presented a “fertile ground” for the Myanmar-based leaders of these terror outfits to exploit, the NIA said in the chargesheet.

Manipur Police commandos during routine checking in the state capital Imphal had arrested five armed men in military camouflage from an SUV in September 2023. All the five later got bail following protests by locals; however, the NIA immediately arrested one of them, Moirangthem Anand Singh, who turned out to be a highly trained member of the PLA, according to the chargesheet.

The NIA in the chargesheet said Anand mobilised local youths for arms training to escalate the ethnic strife in Manipur. In July 2023, he participated in a weapons-training camp in Manipur organised by two more PLA insurgents, who taught 80-90 youths to handle firearms, the NIA said.

“The investigation… shows the accused criminally conspired with intent to carry out violent terror attacks targeting the rival Kuki-Zo community with prohibited arms and ammunition which were looted from various government sources,” the NIA said in the ‘analysis of evidence’ part of the chargesheet.

“The accused persons were thus part of the larger transnational conspiracy hatched by Myanmar-based leadership of terror outfits operationally active in the northeastern Indian states to exploit the ongoing ethnic unrest in Manipur, and execute terror attacks to aggravate the worsening security situation in Manipur,” the NIA said.

The NIA had also arrested Seiminlun Gangte as one of the key accused in an SUV blast in Bishnupur, 45 km from Imphal, in June last year.

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“Not Only Misleading, But Cruel,” Says NSCN(IM)

The NSCN(IM) in a statement shared with the media alleged the Centre – despite having signed a ceasefire and engaging in talks for 27 years – has been supporting a proxy war against it by using the Myanmar-based Kuki National Army (B), or KNA(B), and the People’s Defence Force (PDF).

The allegations are “not only misleading but cruel and vicious as it is too far from the point of accuracy and morally not ethical at all,” the NSCN(IM) said.

The Kuki tribes had fought with the Nagas in the 90s after the Nagas accused them of encroaching on their land. Many from both tribes were killed in that conflict.

“The security forces… use the Kukis as frontal forces to engage in bloody discord against the Nagas giving all logistics support to the Kuki militant groups,” the NSCN(IM) alleged in the statement.

In May 2023, the month Meitei-Kuki ethnic violence began, the NSCN(IM) had asked the two communities to ensure the hostilities between them do not affect the Nagas living in the violence-hit state. The NSCN(IM) had alleged some “Kuki militants” attacked a village where members of the Kom community – a Naga minor tribe – live in Manipur’s Kangathei.

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The Manipur assembly on February 29 unanimously passed a resolution asking the Centre to scrap the controversial suspension of operations (SoO) agreement with some 25 Kuki-Zo insurgent groups. The deadline for extension of the SoO agreement ended that day. The Kuki-Zo insurgent groups signed the tripartite SoO agreement with the Centre and the Manipur government in 2008.

The over two dozen Kuki-Zo insurgent groups come under two umbrella groups – the Kuki National Organisation (KNO), and the United People’s Front (UPF). These two representing the others have signed the SoO agreement. They have been demanding a separate land for the Kukis.

The ethnic violence killed over 220 and internally displaced nearly 50,000. A year on, thousands are still living in relief camps in both the Meitei-dominated valley and Kuki-dominated hill areas.

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