Government bans nine Meitei extremist groups, their associate organizations

New Delhi:  The government on Monday banned nine Meitei extremist groups and their associate organizations, which mostly operate in Manipur, for their anti-national activities, and launching fatal attacks on security forces.

According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the groups that have been banned for five years are: the Peoples’ Liberation Army generally known as PLA, and its political wing Revolutionary Peoples’ Front (RPF), the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) and its armed wing Manipur Peoples’ Army (MPA).

The Peoples’ Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) and its armed wing Red Army, the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) and its armed wing (also called the Red Army), the Kanglei Yaol Kanba Lup (KYKL), the Coordination Committee (CorCom) and the Alliance for Socialist Unity Kangleipak (ASUK) have also been banned.

The PLA, UNLF, PREPAK, KCP, and KYKL were banned by the MHA under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967) years ago and the latest action extends the ban by five years.

In its notification, the MHA said the Meitei extremist organizations have declared, as their professed aim, the establishment of an independent nation by the secession of Manipur from India through armed struggle and to incite indigenous people of Manipur for such secession.

The MHA said it thinks that the Meitei extremist organizations have been engaging in activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, employing and engaging in armed means to achieve their aforesaid objectives, attacking and killing the security forces, the police, and civilians in Manipur, indulging in acts of intimidation, extortion and looting of the civilian population for collection of funds for their organizations.

They are making contacts with sources abroad to influence public opinion and secure their assistance by way of arms and training to achieve their secessionist objective and maintain camps in neighboring countries for sanctuaries, training, and clandestine procurement of arms and ammunition, it said.

The MHA said if there is no immediate curb and control of the Meitei extremist organizations they will take the opportunity to mobilize their cadres to escalate their secessionist, subversive, terrorist, and violent activities.

The groups will propagate anti-national activities in collusion with forces inimical to the sovereignty and integrity of India, indulge in killings of civilians and targeting of the police and security force personnel, procure and induct illegal arms and ammunition from across the international border, and extort and collect huge funds from the public for their unlawful activities, the ministry said.

The activities of the Meitei extremist organizations are considered detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of India and they are unlawful associations, it said.

“The central government, having regard to the circumstances, is further of the opinion that it is necessary to declare the Meitei extremist organizations…as ‘unlawful associations’ and accordingly, in the exercise of the powers conferred by the proviso to sub-section (3) of section 3 of the said Act, the central government hereby directs that this notification shall, subject to any order that may be made under section 4 of the said Act, have effect from the 13th day of November 2023, for five years,” it said.

Manipur has seen bouts of violence since ethnic clashes first erupted in May. More than 180 people have been killed since then.

The clashes have occurred over several grievances that ethnic Meitei and Kuki communities have against each other.

A major flashpoint has been a move to give the Meiteis the Scheduled Tribe status, which has since been rolled back.

Meiteis account for about 53 percent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 percent and reside mainly in the hill districts.