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China-Myanmar link in Manipur unrest? NIA chargesheet points training camps, insurgent collabs

The probe unraveled a purported transnational conspiracy planned by Myanmar-based leadership of terror outfits operating in northeast India.

News Arena Network - New Delhi - UPDATED: May 15, 2024, 03:22 AM - 5 mins read

A glimpses of the violence in Manipur along with selected snapshots of arms and ammunition seized by security personnel across Manipur following the unrest in May 3, 2023.

China-Myanmar link in Manipur unrest? NIA chargesheet points training camps, insurgent collabs

A glimpses of the violence in Manipur along with selected snapshots of arms and ammunition seized by security personnel across Manipur following the unrest in May 3, 2023.


The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed a chargesheet in a case connected to the ongoing violence in Manipur, laying bare a web of looted arms, insurgent training camps, and a suspected transnational conspiracy.

 

The findings point towards a disturbing nexus between stolen weaponry and individuals allegedly orchestrating the unrest, with the ultimate aim of targeting members of the Kuki Zo community.

 

The state of Manipur has been embroiled in violence since May 3rd, 2023, leaving a trail of devastation. The eight-month-long conflict has claimed 224 lives, displaced over 67,000 people, and reduced hundreds of properties to rubble.

 

A particularly gruesome incident involving a mob attack on women that went viral sparked national outrage.

 

The chargesheet sheds light on the arrest of Moirangthem Anand Singh, identified as a cadre of the proscribed Meitei insurgent group, the People's Liberation Army (PLA). 

 

Arrested in September 2023, Singh is alleged to have participated in a "weapons training camp" organised by the PLA during the height of the violence. The camp, held in Imphal's ecological park, reportedly trained 80-90 youths in handling firearms.

 

Further investigation by the NIA revealed a link between the arms seized from the accused and those looted from police stations during the initial days of the unrest. 

 

Three out of the four weapons recovered from Singh – an INSAS rifle, an SLR rifle, and a .303 rifle – were confirmed to have been stolen from police armouries. The agency is still tracing the remaining rifle.

 

This development gains significance in light of Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh's statement from April, which acknowledged the recovery of only a fraction of the looted weapons – 1,757 arms and 22,707 rounds of ammunition – from an estimated total of 5,600 arms and 6.5 lakh rounds.

 

The NIA case, registered suo moto in Delhi last July, was reportedly triggered by "credible inputs" suggesting a "transnational conspiracy" orchestrated by Myanmar-based leadership of terror outfits active in Northeast India. These groups were suspected of exploiting the ethnic strife to further their own violent agendas.

 

Singh's arrest itself was a contentious affair. Apprehended along with four others while impersonating police officers, Singh's detention subsequently sparked protests led by the Meitei women's group, Meira Paibi. 

 

The women claimed those arrested were "village volunteers" protecting Meitei villagers from "Kuki militants."  

 

Under mounting public pressure, a local court granted them conditional bail. However, Singh was immediately picked up by the NIA and flown to Delhi for investigation into the alleged "transnational conspiracy."

 

The NIA chargesheet details the agency's pursuit of information regarding a potential alliance between the China-Myanmar module of the Naga insurgent group, NSCN/IM, and two proscribed Manipur-based outfits – Kanglei Yaol Kamba Lup (KYKL) and the People's Liberation Army (PLA). 

The probe unraveled a purported transnational conspiracy planned by Myanmar-based leadership of terror outfits operating in northeast India. Allegedly, these outfits sought to exploit ethnic strife for terrorist activities, with support promised by the China-Myanmar module of NSCN/IM, among others.

 

The NSCN/IM leadership, based in Myanmar, is believed to have offered "safe passage" along with arms and ammunition to facilitate the infiltration of PLA and KYKL cadres into Indian territory to carry out attacks. 

 

The chargesheet alleges that these outfits were tasked with recruiting and training young people to exacerbate the ethnic conflict and ultimately destabilise the security situation in Manipur, potentially leading to an armed confrontation with the Indian government.

 

Further details from the chargesheet claim that Singh, not only attended the aforementioned training camp but also actively participated in mobilising local youth for further weapons training, with the intention of escalating the violence. 

 

Statements from state police commandos involved in Singh's initial arrest suggest his involvement in aiding and supporting other insurgent groups in defying imposed restrictions.

 

The NIA has also arrested Seiminlun Gangte, belonging to the Kuki community, as a key suspect in a bomb blast that injured three people in Bishnupur district. 

 

This move, in a highly polarised atmosphere, has drawn accusations of bias from the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Front, representing the Kuki community. The NIA has vehemently denied these allegations.

 

As per the Chief Minister's statement, a total of 13 cases related to the ongoing ethnic conflict in Manipur are currently being handled by the NIA.

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