Story in Manipur blasts: militancy on the decline
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Over the past few days, two bomb blasts have hit Imphal, with last week's attack at the M Sector complex — near Raj Bhavan — being the closest insurgents in Manipur have gotten to a military establishment.
In fact, it's been a season of small-intensity blasts in the state this month — with three low-intensity explosions in the first 10 days of September. All three blasts were again concentrated in areas patrolled by either the Army or Assam Rifles and were claimed by major valley groups such as the UNLF and PLA.
This shows a distinct shift in insurgency targets. Last year, before the Assembly elections in February, sporadic blasts claimed by different groups were concentrated in public places — mainly trading and business hubs, also home to Manipur's large non-Manipuri population. This month's blasts, coming after a period of quiet, are more of a desperate attempt by valley-based Hindu insurgent groups to make their presence felt, according to a Home Ministry official.
The insurgency movement has been on the decline in Manipur. The NSCN-IM, which functions in the Naga-dominated hill districts, has declared a ceasefire and apart from the occasional battle with another rival Naga insurgent group, has been near dormant. As many as 18-20 Kuki revolutionary insurgent groups have signed memorandums of understanding with the Union Home Ministry and are currently under "suspension of operations". The only groups which still seem somewhat active are the Meitei Hindu groups such as the UNLF, PLA, PREPAK. But in their case too, the number of "surrender ceremonies" are on the rise. Last week, as many as 114 members from different groups including UNLF, KYKL, KCP, PLA, UPPK and UNPC lay down their arms.
With extortion by such insurgent groups rampant, they have also been losing support among the common man.
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