IMPHAL, Oct 27 : With an intention to come under the Suspension of Operation (SoO) pact, altogether 43 cadres of the United Tribal Liberation Army (UTLA) led by its president surren-dered before Chief Minister Ibobi today.
The UTLA cadres who surrendered to the Government through the Army were accorded a warm reception at a home-coming ceremony organised by the 57th Mountain Division at 1st MR banquet hall this afternoon.
Speaking at the occasion, Ibobi stated that some groups under SoO pact have been extorting money from the public thereby violating SoO ground rules.
Stating that the Government has been giving assis- tance including money to the groups under SoO pact, the Chief Minister warned that the Government will not tolerate violation of ground rules.
To a query raised by journalists after the home-coming ceremony, Ibobi clarified that he never asked the Union Home Minister to repeal AFSPA in totality.
DGP Y Joykumar said that UTLA operated in Vangai range, Jiribam and Nungba area.
They also used to pose hurdles in the railway track laying work.
57th Mountain Division GOC Maj Gen Binoy Poonnem appealed to all sub-groups functioning under UTLA to come to the path of peace.
The Major General said that due process was underway to bring UTLA within the fold of SoO pact.
UTLA president Izeal said that they came out to join SoO pact as they desired peace.
At present, the surrendered UTLA cadres are being housed at Uchathol, Jiribam.
The home coming ceremony was also attended by Commander 27 Sector AR Brigadier VS Ranade and Commandant 46 AR Colonel Vikas Chawla, said a PIB (DW) release.United Tribal Liberation Army was raised by James in 2003.
However, at a later date after the death of James, UTLA split into two factions called UTLA and UTLA (Max).
UTLA (Max) over the period of time got neutralized and as on date majority of them are in jail.
Due to leadership crisis and differences, President of UTLA Izeal and Gen Secy Sehjahao along with 45 armed cadres were motivated to join the mainstream.
On September 8, the two leaders announced formally to join the Suspension of Operation (SoO) as had been reported in all leading daily newspapers of Manipur.
Now, 75 United Tribal Liberation Army (UTLA) cadres have decided to come home, claimed the PIB (DW) release.
Antecedents of the UTLA cadres who have joined the mainstream today have already been verified by the group members and village chiefs from the areas that they hailed from. The others would follow suit shortly for which, a repeat ceremony will be held at Leimakhong, it informed.
The home coming ceremony was orchestrated by 27 Sector AR under the aegis of Red Shield Division.
Source: The Sangai Express