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Manipur: Women take out torch rally demanding withdrawal of SoO Agreement

Protestors at Khwairamband Keithel in Imphal raised slogans demanding immediate cancellation of the SoO agreement and the state assembly adopting a resolution on canceling the agreement.

IMPHAL- Thousands of women on Wednesday took out Torch Rally in different parts of Imphal Valley demanding end of the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement between the Center and Kuki militant groups.

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The protest was organized following a call by COCOMI, the Coordination Committee on Manipur Integrity, a group of five valley-based civil society organisations.

Protestors at Khwairamband Keithel in Imphal raised slogans demanding immediate cancellation of the SoO agreement and the state assembly adopting a resolution on canceling the agreement.

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The SoO agreement was signed by the Centre, the Manipur government and two groups of Kuki militant organizations – KNO and UPF. The agreement was first signed in 2008 and has been extended from time to time thereafter.

Similar protests were also held in Khurai and Wangkhei of Imphal East district, Singjamei and Uripok of Imphal West district.

Women in Thoubal and Kakching districts also staged sit-in protests in various parts of the districts on Wednesday against any extension of Suspension of Operation (SoO) with Kuki militants and government of India.

Earlier on Sunday, the People’s Alliance for Peace and Progress, Manipur (PAPPM) had appealed for a three-day sit-in-protest at respective localities with slogans “Withdraw SoO with Kuki militants”, “Remove double standard Assam Rifles”.

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Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement with Kuki militants is to expire on February 29 as the agreement has been updating annually since the signing of the agreement.

The tripartite SoO agreement between the government and Kuki militants was signed in 2006, however Manipur government withdrew the agreement with Kuki National Army (KNA) and Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA) in March last year alleging that the militant groups are instigating the people against the government drive to evict illegal encroachers from forest land.

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