As the Central and Manipur governments have signed a peace agreement with the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), to renounce violence and join the mainstream, Chief Minister Biren Singh hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday for the same and expressed hope on more insurgent groups to come forward and join the peace-making process.
The peace agreement was signed with the state’s oldest valley-based militant group on November 29 in the national capital in the presence of Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and some members of the UNLF.
Manipur CM N Biren Singh was accorded a hero’s welcome by cabinet colleagues, legislators and party workers on his return today from New Delhi, two days after the ceasefire agreement signing.
Speaking to ANI on the peace accord, CM Biren Singh said, “It was historic for Manipur. This group was established around 1964 and no peace initiation has taken place since then. Fortunately, it happened this time.”
The peace agreement signed with the UNLF by the Centre and the Manipur government marks the end of a six-decade-long armed movement.
“We were trying to negotiate continuously for the peace agreement for the last 3-4 years under the leadership of PM Modi. Finally, we did it. This agreement is a great achievement for the Indian government as well as the Manipur government. Our Home Minister Amit Shah ji’s guidance also facilitated it,” he added.
He further asserted that more insurgent groups who haven’t signed the accord will follow suit with UNLF and follow the path to peace.
“With this large group joining the peace process, we are expecting more insurgent groups who have not signed their accord with the government of India to join and follow the path of peace,” CM Biren Singh said.
“Then the peace will be restored in Manipur also and we can march ahead in the development, for the welfare of the state, for the welfare of the country. That is my expectation. That is why I am trying very hard under the guidance of PM Modi and Amit Shah,” he added.
The UNLF was formed in 1964 and has been operating both within and outside Indian Territory. The agreement is poised to give a fillip to usher in a new era of peace in the North East in general and Manipur in particular.
The agreement will not only bring an end to hostilities between UNLF and security forces, which have claimed precious lives on both sides over the last more than half a century but also provide an opportunity to address the longstanding concerns of the community.
It is hoped that the return of UNLF to the mainstream will also encourage other valley-based armed groups to participate in the peace process in due course.
A Peace Monitoring Committee (PMC) will be constituted to oversee the enforcement of the agreed ground rules. The development is likely to be a significant step in restoring peace and normalcy in the state.
In a statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs also said that the agreement is poised to usher in a new era of peace in the Northeast in general and Manipur in particular.
The MHA, in its statement, added that in line with the vision of Prime Minister Modi and under the guidance of the Union Home Minister, the Centre has signed agreements with several armed groups of the North East region since 2014 to end militancy and promote development.
Further, as per the statement, this is the first time a valley-based Manipuri armed group has agreed to return to the mainstream by abjuring violence and agreeing to honour the Constitution of India and the laws of the land.
Terming it a landmark achievement, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the peace agreement realised PM Modi’s vision of all-inclusive development and providing a better future to the youth in Northeast India. (ANI)