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Misuse of funds alleged in Manipur ceasefire-linked insurgent groups

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Imphal: Allegations have surfaced regarding the misappropriation of funds meant for the rehabilitation of members of Kuki-Zo insurgent groups in Manipur.

The insurgents, who signed a ceasefire agreement in 2008, have reportedly diverted stipends intended for their members' rehabilitation, as revealed by sources familiar with the matter.

According to reports, the insurgents under the ceasefire agreement were entitled to receive a monthly stipend of Rs 6,000 starting from April 1, 2018. However, it has been flagged that these payments were disbursed without linking the Aadhaar biometric details of the insurgents, contrary to the guidelines provided by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

The CAG report, presented to the Manipur assembly, highlighted irregularities in the payments made to the insurgents between April 1, 2018, and March 31, 2021. The report pointed out that payments totaling Rs 27.38 crore were made without adhering to the biometric identification requirements, as mandated by the guidelines.

Authorities responsible for the payments justified their actions by claiming that the insurgents had not provided their biometric details. However, the CAG report deemed this explanation unacceptable, emphasizing the mandatory nature of linking biometric identification numbers with bank accounts.

Furthermore, discussions held by the joint monitoring group (JMG) regarding the necessity of linking insurgents' biometric details with their bank accounts did not yield the desired results, as the insurgents reportedly did not provide the required information.

The Manipur government has also taken steps to address the situation, with the state assembly passing a resolution urging the Centre to terminate the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement with Kuki-Zo insurgent groups. This move comes amidst allegations that the insurgents have been involved in violent activities despite the ceasefire agreement.

The SoO agreement, aimed at maintaining peace in Manipur and addressing the demands of Kuki-Zo armed groups, has faced criticism following ongoing ethnic violence between Kuki-Zo tribes and Meiteis. The demand for a separate administration for the Kuki-Zo tribes has garnered support from civil society groups and Kuki-Zo MLAs, aligning with the objectives of the insurgent groups under the SoO agreement.

The recent withdrawal of the SoO agreement with specific insurgent groups underscores the complexity of the situation, with decisions subject to review by the JMG. Meanwhile, concerns persist over escalating violence and allegations against insurgent groups from both sides, further exacerbating tensions in the region.

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TAGS:Manipur CeasefireManipur Insurgent Groups
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