Imphal, Feb 9:
For the first time in the history of the post-merger of Manipur to the Indian Union, the army wing of the Pambei-led UNLF, the Manipur People’s Army (MPA), celebrated its 37th Raising Day at Sagolmang Playground in Imphal East district. The event was attended by a large number of civilians, Meira Paibi, and representatives of CSOs.
The armed rebel group entered into a ceasefire agreement with the government of India on November 29 last year. The day was marked by the hoisting of the party flag by the acting chairman, M. Nongyai, paying tribute to the martyred cadres, a march-past, and speeches by the leaders of the Pambei-led MPA and leaders of the CSO and Meira Pabi.
“Our mission is to protect, preserve, and safeguard the people and territorial integrity of Manipur. The MPA will fight and give a befitting reply to any attempt to distort the integrity of Manipur,” said acting Chairman M. Nongyai, while recalling the history of UNLF and the birth of MPA.
“The MPA was established on this day in 1987. Our cadres first received training at Tonu in Eastern Nagaland, and at that time, we only had three weapons,” Nongyai added. He also mentioned that after the emergence of MPA, the people of Manipur and the WESEA region started feeling a sense of security.
Regarding the ongoing conflict between the Meitei and the Kuki, M. Nongyai clarified that not all Kuki are their enemies. He recalled the sacrifices made by many Kuki cadres of UNLF for the cause of the rebel group. He believes that what is happening today is the master plan of some outsider Kuki.
“We felt at home when we visited Kuki villages during our movement, as they treated us more like their sons and daughters,” Nongyai said.
Ch. Thanil, the Secretary General of the Pambei-led UNLF, elaborated on the difficult days of the rebel group and emphasized that protecting our motherland is not the responsibility of MPA alone, but everyone’s duty.
Th. Sidabamapu, Chief of the Army Staff in-charge of MPA and Secretary of External & Regional Affairs of the Pambei-led UNLF, also recounted the long history of the MPA. He emphasized the need for soldiers to protect and safeguard the people today.