State to urge Centre rein in SoO outfits

IMPHAL, 17th Oct: In view of the threat posed by some Suspension of Operation (SoO) groups to the hard earned peace and harmony in the state, a state cabinet meeting convened Thursday decided to approach the Central government for reviewing SoO ground rules, particularly those trying to dictate government and derail peace initiatives.
The decision comes barely one day after the state government reached an understanding with Kuki leaders on erection of memorial stones, by replacing the inscription ‘In defence of our ancestral land and freedom’, in connection with centenary celebration of Anglo-Kuki War 1917-19.
With the inscription ‘In defence of our ancestral land and freedom’ becoming contentious and beginning to pose serious threat to peace and harmony, the state government held talks with different stakeholders and reached an understanding on certain conditions late Wednesday evening with some Kuki leaders. However, moments after reaching the understanding, some underground groups under SoO threatened Kuki leaders who took part in the Wednesday evening’s talk with government. This compelled state government to hurriedly convene a cabinet meet Thursday morning and decided to approach the Centre for reviewing SoO ground rules, informed government spokesperson and education minister Th Radheshyam to media persons at his office chamber.
Th Radheshyam disclosed that the state government took serious note of threat posed to hard earned peace and tranquillity in the state by a petty matter of inscription on memorial stone. Accordingly, government held talks with different stakeholders to resolve the matter amicably.
Till late Wednesday evening, government consulted with a delegation of Kuki Inpi and other Kuki civil society organisations. During the meeting, the Kuki delegation put up some demands and considering genuineness of these demands, the government assured to implement the demands and accordingly reached an understanding. As per their demands, government agreed to recognise the armed movement launched by Kukis against the British in 1917 to 1919 and even assured to construct a memorial park at a suitable area within Greater Imphal and declare holiday after deciding a suitable day. When the Kuki leaders left the meeting venue, some Kuki underground groups under SoO threatened them and even fired at some places disapproving the understanding reached with government, he said, adding that police department and intelligence units are trying to identify the groups involved.
Viewing the attempt to dictate government and derail peace initiatives by standing against the understanding reached with Kuki leaders as violation of SoO ground rules, state cabinet arrived at the decision of approaching the Centre for reviewing SoO ground rules, Radheshyam said, while maintaining that state government will not remain silent when any group attempts to disturb peace and harmony.
He also said that state government will apprise the Central government that no step which could affect interest of any community will be allowed. Radheshyam also said that DGP has been directed to register FIR against KSO units of Saikul and Tengnoupal which warned action against schools in their respective operational jurisdictions if fail to declare holiday and found open on October 17 through social media. A directive to arrest of leaders of the two KSO units has been issued to show that they are not above government, he said.
Deeply concerned over hate messages being uploaded on social media on the present matter, the government spokesperson also appealed to civil society organisations, students’ organisations and public not to use any word which could hurt sentiments of a particular community.

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