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    Manipur Lawmakers Call for Inclusive Disarmament and Reforms to Restore Peace Amidst Ethnic Strife

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    Forty legislators from Manipur, a violence-affected state in India, have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They are calling for comprehensive disarmament to create a peaceful and safe environment in the state. The lawmakers, who mainly represent the ethnic Meitei community, also want the Suspension of Operations (SoO) Agreement with Kuki militant factions to end, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to be implemented, and Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) to be enhanced. They specifically rejected the demand for autonomous administration by Kuki groups.

    The legislators believe that simply deploying security forces is not enough to establish security quickly. They believe that complete disarmament across the entire state is necessary for peace and security. The memorandum was presented to Prime Minister Modi on Wednesday.

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    The lawmakers emphasized the need to requisition all arms owned by rebel organizations, unlawfully armed foreign entities, and those seized from state resources. They believe that a more assertive strategy by the central security forces is required to establish lasting tranquility. The memorandum also highlighted incidents where militants attacked farmers while they were working, emphasizing the need for enhanced security measures.

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    According to the memorandum, there has been extensive infiltration by foreign elements and an influx of weaponry in Manipur. The legislators called for active and preemptive engagement by central forces against these infiltrators. Over the past three months, there has been ongoing confrontation between state/central forces and insurgent armed groups in the state. The lawmakers also stressed the importance of enforcing the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Manipur.

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    The memorandum stated that a political approach is necessary to resolve the conflict. They suggested exploring alternatives such as the prompt application of the NRC in Manipur to instill confidence among the native population. The ongoing biometric registration of immigrants should also be expanded and strengthened.

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    The legislators firmly rejected the demand for a ‘distinct administration’ by Kuki groups, considering it unacceptable under any circumstances. They proposed reinforcing the Autonomous District Council (ADC) and organizing regular elections for both the Hill Area Committee (HAC) and the existing ADCs to build confidence among all communities.

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    Once these measures are implemented, the legislators believe that essential peace dialogues can begin to establish a sustainable resolution to the ongoing crisis. It should be noted that all 10 Kuki lawmakers had previously advocated for a separate administration for Kuki regions.

    In addition, Naga-majority areas of Manipur witnessed a demonstration expressing dissatisfaction with the state government’s handling of Naga peace talks. The demonstrators urged for the talks to conclude promptly. Naga groups had previously expressed their desire for an expanded Nagaland.

    The state of Manipur has experienced ethnic tensions since May, resulting in over 160 deaths and thousands being displaced from their homes.

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