GUWAHATI: Poll-bound Manipur remains the last bastion of active armed insurgency in the northeast and the only state of the region where no peace initiative has yet materialised into a fruitful dialogue ever since the oldest of the outfits – United National Liberation Front (UNLF) — hit the road to insurrection in 1964.
While attacks on security forces in Manipur have become infrequent, Saturday’s ambush in Churachandpur district that killed Colonel Viplav Tripathi, his wife, their son and four Assam Rifles personnel harked back to the ferocity of the June 4, 2015 militant assault on a convoy of the 6th Dogra Regiment in Chandel district. That ambush, which claimed the lives of 18 soldiers and injured 11 others, was the opening shot of the 2019 Bollywood film Uri: The Surgical Strike.
The MHA website lists eight major insurgent outfits active in Manipur, including the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) that is suspected of being behind the Churachandpur ambush. Brig (retd) Ranjit Borthakur, an expert on China and the northeast, said Manipur would remain volatile unless peace talks were initiated with every outfit. “Unlike the other states of the region, militant outfits have never talked peace. Successive state governments, too, haven’t made any significant attempt to persuade them to join a peace process.” The only outfits of Manipur to have started a peace process with Centre and state government represent Kuki community.

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