SoO violators likely to face music


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By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, May 26 : Strongest actions would be taken up against members of all groups under Suspension of Operation (SoO) if they are violating SoO ground rules, informed well placed sources.
Following reports of direct involvement of armed cadres of SoO groups in the ethnic violence which has been raging through the State since May 3, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India has decided to take up stringent actions, said the sources.
Notably, Union Home Minister Amit, during a meeting with some MLAs/Ministers of Manipur at Guwahati yesterday, stated that he has been monitoring the situation of Manipur.
Amit Shah also told the MLAs/Ministers that befitting action would be taken against members of all SoO groups if they are involved in violence.
Moreover, the Union Home Minister announced that he would come to the State on May 29 and stay here for three/four days, and take up all possible measures to control the situation and bring normalcy in the State.
However, Amit Shah also stated that it would take some time to bring complete normalcy and send back the displaced people to their homes/villages.
There are reports of direct involvement of armed cadres of SoO groups in the ethnic violence which erupted on May 3. Scores of people have been killed, hundreds of houses burnt down and over 40,000 people have been rendered homeless because of the violence, added the sources.
Ministers and MLAs from Manipur also gave a report on the issue to the Union Home Minister.
Though unofficial, there are also reports of involvement of armed Myanmarese Kukis, besides the Kuki militants of SoO groups, in the ethnic violence.
Kuldiep Singh, Security Advisor to the Government of Manipur, had told the media a few days back that some weapons of SoO groups were missing.
After the Government of India and the Government of Manipur signed the SoO pact with several militant groups under the two umbrella organisations of UPF and KNO, arms and ammunition of the Kuki militant groups were kept locked.
The SoO ground rules clearly say that all ranks and files of SoO groups are prohibited from roaming around with arms beyond their designated camps.
In the course of the tripartite talks involving the Government of India, Government of Manipur and SoO groups, the State Government often pointed out that the SoO groups were violating the SoO ground rules by moving beyond their designated camps with weapons and by indulging in extortion and other unlawful activities.
The SoO groups too accused the Government agencies of violating the SoO ground rules.
Notably, the State Cabinet led by Chief Minister N Biren decided to withdraw the State Government from SoO with KNA and ZRA on March 10 this year following blatant violation of ground rules by these groups.
After the Government of India inked SoO with KNO and UPF, the State Government joined the agreement on August 27, 2008.
The Kuki militant groups have been demanding a separate homeland for Kukis. In the wake of the ethnic violence which erupted on May 3, several CSOs and 10 Kuki MLAs raised the demand for separate administration of Kuki dominated areas. Yet, Union Home Minister Amit Shah assured that  the Government of India would do nothing which may disturb the integrity of Manipur.  
Awangbow Newmai also informed that the Union Home Minister had assured that there would be no shortage of supply of essential commodities in the State, adding that the situation of the State would be normalised soon.
Amit Shah appealed to the people not to have any apprehension but to have faith in the Government efforts and join hands to make the State move towards peace and development, the Minister informed. Works Minister Govindas Konthoujam, IPR Minister Dr Sapam Ranjan, PHE Minister L Susindro Meitei, Social Welfare Minister Heikham Dingo, Education Minister Th Basantakumar, MLAs  RK. Imo,  Sapam Kunjakeshore, MLA Leishiyo Keishing, MLA Thongam Shanti, MLA Dr Usham Deben and MLA Khuraijam Loken also attended the press conference.