Security forces in Manipur have set up surprise checks on camps of militant groups to ensure their compliance with the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement in a bid to maintain peace and stability in violence-hit northeastern state, officials said on Friday.
The development follows Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s appeal appealed to all concerned to surrender their weapons to the security forces and administration and warned of legal consequences against those found armed in search-and-combing operations.
Intelligence sources have been mobilised, and dedicated units are on standby to promptly act upon received information for the early recovery of weapons, defence sources said. Detailed plans have been prepared for immediate implementation, they said, adding, “Surprise Check of SoO Camps is also being undertaken to ensure presence of weapons & cadres as stipulated in the agreement.”
The Spear Corps of Indian Army in a tweet stated: “De-weaponisation & enforcement of SoO/ MoU provisions-Focal points for immediate implementation across #Manipur. Large scale to recover snatched weapons & surprise checks of SoO Camps planned.”
De-weaponisation & enforcement of SoO/ MoU provisions-Focal points for immediate implementation across #Manipur. Large scale to recover snatched weapons & surprise checks of SoO Camps plannedPics- SoO Camps pic.twitter.com/rtiM1idSaa— SpearCorps.IndianArmy (@Spearcorps) June 2, 2023
Easy access to arms and ammunition for inimical elements aiming to disrupt peace and harmony is an issue that cannot be overlooked in the violence-ravaged state of Manipur, they said. In light of this, reaching a consensus among all stakeholders to conduct immediate intelligence-based combing operations across Manipur is a positive step, sources added.
Furthermore, in order to ensure sustainable peace, security forces have identified “de-weaponisation and the enforcement of SoO/MoU provisions as focal points to be addressed immediately from the security perspective across Manipur.”
In another tweet, the Army said: “relentless efforts towards restoring normalcy resulted in the surrender of 39 active cadres of APLA with weapons before IGAR North & Assam Police. Spear Corps urges cadres of all proscribed groups to lay down arms & return to mainstream.”
Notably, Union Home Minister on the last of his four-day visit to Manipur, emphasised the importance of adhering to the SoO Agreement to maintain peace in the northeastern state.
After the home minister’s appeal in Imphal, more than 140 weapons have been surrendered till Friday morning.
The weapons surrendered comprised a variety of firearms, including self-loading rifles, carbines, AK and INSAS rifles, light machine guns, pistols, M16 rifles, smoke guns/tear gas, sten guns, and grenade launchers.
The Home Minister had further announced the establishment of an Inter-Agency Unified Command to enhance coordination among all security agencies operating in Manipur, given the presence of multiple forces on the ground.
Shah also issued a warning to militant groups, cautioning them against breaching the ceasefire agreements made with the government.
“Any deviation from the Suspension of Operations agreement will be regarded as a violation of the pacts they have endorsed. Stringent action will be taken against those who violate the agreements,” he affirmed.
Several militant groups in Manipur have signed such agreements and currently reside in camps under the vigilant supervision of the Assam Rifles.