Meitei Radical Group Extracts Pledge from Legislators for 'Peace' in Manipur Within 15 Days

Aramboi Tenggol, an outfit accused of several killings and looting of arms in the state, has been demanding the scrapping of the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement with Kuki insurgents within 15 days.

New Delhi: Aramboi Tenggol, a Meitei radical group, pushed 37 Manipur MLAs and two MPs from the state’s Imphal Valley to take an oath on Wednesday, January 24, which essentially meant that the legislators have 15 days in their hands to convey to the Union government to “convey the concerns of the people” and about “protecting the integrity of the state”.

Several demands were made by the militant group Aramboi Tenggol in the meeting; these demands include updating the base year of the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Manipur to 1951 and scrapping the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement with Kuki insurgents within 15 days.

“The MLAs assured us that they will convey the concerns of our people to the Centre within 15 days to ensure peace in Manipur,” AT chief Korounganga Khuman said after an oath was administered to the MLAs for protecting the integrity of Manipur, according to The Hindu.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register containing the names of genuine Indian citizens residing in a particular state or territory of India. It was first prepared in 1951 after the first Census of Independent India. The purpose of the NRC is to create a comprehensive list of Indian citizens to identify and eliminate illegal immigrants.

The demand for the NRC is increasing because Valley-based people allege that individuals from Myanmar (mainly Kukis) are entering Manipur and living illegally, obtaining all relevant documents and are being responsible for unrest in the state. However, Government of India data received by The Wire through an RTI states that since 2012, only six people from Myanmar have been granted Indian citizenship. This data is available online and was last updated in the year 2020.

According to The Print, among the legislators who attended the meeting were Inner Manipur MP Rajkumar Ranjan Singh and Rajya Sabha member Leishemba Sanajaoba, all from the majority Meitei community. Congress leaders, including former chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh and state Congress chief Keisham Meghachandra Singh, were also present. After the meeting, Korounganba Khuman, Aramboi Tenggol’s chief, addressed a public gathering and said Arambai had called the legislators to make a point that ministers and MLAs are not above the people. He also said that “if the Centre does not listen, we will take the movement to the people to protect Manipur”.

The Hindu reported, a day following the mentioned gathering, eyewitness testimonies and a widely circulated video on social media depicted armed individuals attacking several MLAs who attended the meeting, including Meghachandra. According to one eyewitness, an MLA was kicked and punched, which was followed by the menacing gesture of pointing a gun. Another legislator was reportedly slapped, and those attempting to intervene against the Arambai Tenggol members were purportedly threatened.

On this, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, “The Indian National Congress strongly condemns the brutal physical assault on Manipur PCC President K. Meghachandra, in a meeting of all-party MLAs/MPs/Ministers, under full security protection of state and central forces, at Kangla in Imphal yesterday. The PM, however, continues with his eloquent silence on the enormous tragedy that has overtaken Manipur.”

The Wire has also tried reaching out to Aramboi Tenggol’s chief for comment, but there has been no response yet. During the Manipur violence, more than 200 people have died since May 3, 2023. The data includes people from both sides who got killed. All FIRs registered in Hill areas of crimes have names of militant groups Aramboi Tenggol and Meitei Leepun. FIRs of looting arms and ammunition in the early days of the conflict also mention Arambai Tenggol and Meetei Leepun and outfits that were responsible for the lootings.