United National Liberation Front
The United National Liberation Front (UNLF), also known as the United National Liberation Front of Manipur, is an insurgent group active in the state of Manipur in the Northeast India which aims at establishing a sovereign and socialist Manipur.
The United Nation Liberation Front's movement manifested as a result of several similar movements of the same political agenda. The outfit was founded on 24 November 1964 with the following key personalities as its central committee members:
- Kalalung Kamei, President
- Thankhopao Singsit, Vice-President
- Arambam Samerendra, General Secretary
- Longjam Manimohan, Member
- Laishram Kanhai, Member
- Nongmeikapam Sanajaoba, Member
- Nongmaithem Pahari, Member
Ideology and Aim
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), in September 2012, acknowledged that "the activities carried out by the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) are for bringing sovereignty in the state of Manipur." The UNLF has viewed the statement as "a big political victory."
The UNLF chairperson, R. K. Meghan alias Sanayaima, has been charged for "waging war" against India by the NIA, but the UNLF leader has voiced that the UNLF does not view India or its army as enemies, and "the UNLF only resist the Indian armed forces stationed in Manipur and to resist those people who engaged in colonial repression."
Sanayaima believes that Manipur is "under martial law," and has questioned the character and worthiness of the elections that had been held in Manipur. He further believes that "the most democratic means to resolve conflict is plebiscite."
The UNLF is one of the oldest insurgent organisation in the Northeast India. E. N. Rammohan, the former Director General of the Border Security Force, once wrote, "Of the five major (Imphal) valley underground groups, the UNLF's ideology is by and large intact. The senior leadership is well educated and has good organisational control."
Manipur People's Army
In 1990, the UNLF picked up arms, and its armed organ is known as the Manipur People's Army. In 2005, the strength of the MPA was estimated to about 2,000 armed cadres. According to the UNLF, by 2005, the UNLF was engaged in battle against about 50,000 armed personnel from the Indian Army, that are deployed against the organisation in the forest regions of Manipur. The cadres of the group are drawn largely from the Meetei people.
The territory inhabited by the Nagas, consisting of four districts of Manipur, is the operating ground of Naga groups such as NSCNs, who are predominantly Christian. The Imphal valley, consisting of four districts, is the operating ground of Meetei people groups such as PLA and PREPAK, who predominantly follow Vaishnav Hinduism.
Strategy and Tactics
The UNLF is known to be heavily involved with Extortion, Arms Trading, and Income Generating Projects to finance their armed movements. They have several organized training camps within the northeast sector of India and the neighbouring countries of Myanmar and Bangladesh. Ningtam Meira is the primary media outlet they use to make publications.
Four–point proposal to Indian government
- "A plebiscite under UN supervision to elicit the people's opinion on the core issue of restoration of Manipur's independence."
- "Deployment of a UN peacekeeping force in Manipur to ensure the process is free and fair."
- "Surrender of arms by the UNLF to the UN force, matched by the withdrawal of Indian troops."
- "Handing over of political power by the UN in accordance with the results of the plebiscite."
Arrest of chairperson
On 4 December 2010, Sanayaima was produced by the NIA, who claimed to have arrested Sanayaima from Motihari in Bihar; while, Sanayaima has proclaimed that he was abducted by the Bangladeshi agencies on 29 September 2010 and "handed over" to the agencies of India. Sanayaima has been booked by the NIA for "waging war against the Indian Union under section 120 (B) IPC, 121, 121 (A), 122 IPC and 16, 17, 18, 18 (A), 18 (B) & 20 Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 as amended in 2008." After the arrest, he said that "in a multi-community region, the idea of peace cannot be achieved without considering the collateral damages of the secondary conflict that emerges out of the meaningless peace process."
The Indian government ploy in the so called peace process in 'Western South East Asia' (WESIA) [Indian northeast region] is aimed at transforming the conflict between the peoples of the region with the government of India into a conflict between the peoples on ethnic lines.— Sanayaima, in 2012
Drawing inspiration from the "charged political atmosphere" during the "Naxalbari uprising", he had dropped out of the higher studies at the Jadavpur University in Kolkata, and "picked up a gun and vanished into the forest" about 4 decades ago; and had remained underground since then.
Civil rights activist Babloo Loitongbom, said that "there was an allegation that certain members of the UNLF had raped 20 women. We formed a multi-ethnic fact finding team to go to the place. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to go inside the camp, we were not given any medical evidence."
- Nitin A. Gokhale (1 October 2005). "A life roughed–out in the jungle". Hong Kong: Tehelka. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- "UNLF activities are for bringing sovereignty in Manipur". Imphal Free Press (Sify). 28 September 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- Nitin A. Gokhale (1 October 2005). "Want peace? travel the roads not taken". Hong Kong: Tehelka. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
- "Sanayaima to be produced in court". Imphal Free Press (Sify). 22 August 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- "India transforming conflict on ethnic lines". Imphal Free Press (Sify). 8 November 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- ""If you go hunting, be ready to meet the tiger" — Human rights activist and scholar, BablooLoitongbam". BarandBench.