North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Manipur Crisis: What is Suspension of Operations (SoO) Agreement?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: SoO Agreement

Mains level: Not Much

Central Idea

  • Union Home Minister had assured that the Centre would ensure the implementation of the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement with Kuki insurgent groups in the hill areas.

What is the SoO Agreement?

  • The Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement signed on August 22, 2008, aimed to initiate political dialogue in Manipur’s Kuki insurgency.
  • The Kuki outfits, initially demanding a separate Kuki state, have now proposed a ‘Kukiland territorial council’ with independent financial and administrative powers.

Terms of the SoO Pact

  • Duration and Extension: The SoO agreement has a one-year duration, subject to extension based on the progress of implementation.
  • Operational Restraints: Both security forces (state and central) and underground groups are prohibited from launching operations during the SoO period.
  • Holding national integrity: The signatories, United People’s Front (UPF) and Kuki National Organisation (KNO), must adhere to the Constitution of India, state laws, and maintain the territorial integrity of Manipur.
  • Camps and Arms Management: Underground militant cadres are confined to designated camps identified by the Government. Arms are deposited in a secure room using a double-locking system, and they are only permitted for camp security and protection of leaders.
  • Rehabilitation: Monthly stipends of Rs 5000 and financial assistance are provided for the rehabilitation and maintenance of designated camps.

Understanding the Kuki Insurgency

[A] Historical Background:

  • The Kuki insurgency emerged alongside the Naga movement, both seeking autonomy and asserting their distinct identities.
  • Ethnic clashes between the Kukis and Nagas in Manipur during the early 1990s escalated the Kuki insurgency as a response to perceived Naga aggression.
  • A history of hostile relations between the two tribes, dating back to colonial times, intensified during the Naga-Kuki clashes.

[B] Overlapping Claims:

  • The Kukis claim land in the Manipur hills as their “homeland,” which coincides with the envisioned Naga homeland known as Greater Nagaland or Nagalim.
  • In 1993, the NSCN-IM allegedly killed approximately 115 Kuki men, women, and children in Tengnoupal, an event commemorated by the Kuki community as the ‘black day.’

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