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Suspension of Operations (SoO) Agreement

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    17th Mar, 2023


 The State government of Manipur has decided to withdraw from the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement with two hill-based tribal militant groups (Kuki and Zoumi), alleging they were “influencing agitation among forest encroachers”.


  • The steps were taken in view of the violent incidents that happened in Kangpokpi district during a protest rally organised against Section 144. Many civilians and police personnel were injured in the ding dong running battles at several places.
  • The protest rally was influenced by the two groups, Kuki National Army (KNA) and Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA).

Section 144:

  • Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) of 1973 authorises the Executive Magistrate of any state or territory to issue an order to prohibit the assembly of four or more people in an area.
  •  According to the law, every member of such 'unlawful assembly' can be booked for engaging in rioting.

What is the matter?

  • The recent protests were against the expulsion of residents that some groups claim are “illegal immigrants from Myanmar, Nepal, and Bangladesh”. 
  • The crisis has been fuelled by long-standing tensions between the ethnic Meitei or non-tribals in Imphal valley and Kuki tribal communities living in the hills, as well as growing numbers of refugees fleeing counterinsurgency operations conducted by the junta in Myanmar.
  • Many of these refugees belong to the same ethnic group, the Kuki-Chin-Zomi-Mizo tribe that live in the hills of Manipur.
  • The districts of Kangpokpi, Churachandpur, Tamenglong, Chandel, Ukhrul and Senapati are notified as “hill districts” in Manipur. 
    • The ethnic Kuki population in Manipur is about 30 per cent of the 28.5 lakh population, according to the 2011 Census.
  • Leaders of the hills communities have alleged the eviction drive is targeting legitimate residents of the state.

What is the Suspension of Operations pact?

  • The SoO pact was signed on August 22, 2008.
  • Objective: For initiating political dialogue with the militant groups.
  • Reason: The Kuki outfits who were initially demanding a separate Kuki state have come down to a ‘Kukiland territorial council’, which would have financial and administrative powers independent of the Manipur Assembly and government.

There are nearly 30 Kuki insurgent groups in Manipur, of which 25 are under tripartite Suspension of Operations (SoO) with the Government of India and the state.

  • Time-period: The duration of the Suspension of Operation agreement is one year, it is extendable according to the progress of its implementation.
  • Implementation: To oversee the effective implementation of the SoO pact, a committee called the Joint Monitoring Group (JMG), with representatives from all the signatories, has been formed.
  • Signatories of the agreement
    • The signatories of UPF and KNO shall abide by the Constitution of India, the laws of the land and the territorial integrity of Manipur. 
    • They are prohibited from committing all kinds of atrocities, extortion, among others.
  • Provisions of the agreement:
    • The militant cadres are to be confined in designated camps identified by the Government. 
    • Arms are deposited in a safe room under a double-locking system. 
    • The groups are given arms only to guard their camps and protect their leaders.
    • As a rehabilitation package, the UG cadres living in the designated camps are given a monthly stipend of Rs.5000. 
    • Financial assistance is also being provided to maintain the designated camps.

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