Last Updated on February 17, 2023 by SPN Editor
Fourteen cadres of the United Tribal Liberation Army (UTLA) (James), including its Chairman Tonthang Singsit, laid down their arms and ammunition before Chief Minister N. Biren on Wednesday in a Homecoming Ceremony held at the Banquet Hall of 1st Battalion, Manipur Rifles.
Speaking as the Chief Guest of the function, Chief Minister Biren stated that violence will not bring any solution and urged all the youth who had taken up arms to return to the mainstream.
The surrendered weapons include two KH-33 rifles, one AK rifle, one A1 rifle, one A2 rifle, three single barrel rifles and three small arms along with one Chinese hand grenade, 18 gelatin sticks, 18 detonators, and assorted ammunition.
He also recalled Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s words, in his recent visit to the State that not a single bullet would be fired on those militants who want to return to their normal lives and join the national mainstream and no FIR would be lodged against them unless they are involved in a heinous crime.
Stating that there will be development only when there is peace, the Chief Minister said that in the last five years, the State had witnessed a rapid growth in development in various fields due to improvement in law and order. Manipur would be able to cope with other States only when there is inclusive development irrespective of geographical differences, he added.
The Chief Minister also highlighted that under the revised scheme for Surrender cum Rehabilitation of Militants in the North East State, 2018 of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, rehabilitation benefits to be given to the surrendered cadres include a one-time financial grant of Rs. 4 lakh to each surrendered, which is to be kept in their respective bank accounts as a fixed deposit for a period of three years; monthly stipends of Rs 6000 per person and incentives for surrendered weapons. Surrendered cadres will stay in a rehabilitation camp for a period of three years where they would be given various vocational training.
Regarding this, the Chief Minister stated that a Screening Committee is working out the identification and rehabilitation of cadres, with ADG/IG Special Branch as Chairman and comprising various security agencies like Army, Assam Rifles, Central Paramilitary Forces, SIB, State Police, State Administration, etc. Expressing happiness over the steps taken up by the committee, Biren also stated that since 2005, 681 militants were approved for rehabilitation and out of these, 638 persons completed rehabilitation and returned to their normal lives. As of now, 43 persons are undergoing rehabilitation and vocational training, he added.
Ministers, MLAs, Chief Secretary, DGP, and various top civil, police and military officials attended the Homecoming Ceremony.