Approximately 25 members of the Meitei extremist group National Revolutionary Front Manipur (NRFM) have joined the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), marking a significant development following the peace agreement signed with the Centre last week. An official statement indicates that this move is expected to bolster the Centre’s ongoing efforts to restore peace and normalcy in strife-ridden Manipur. After the peace agreement, 25 NRFM members, led by Major Boicha (vice-chief of the army staff), and equipped with 25 weapons, officially joined UNLF on December 2. This decision signals a substantial shift towards relinquishing the path of violence for most members of NRFM.
Initially formed on September 11, 2011, as the United Revolutionary Front, NRFM emerged from three factions of the KCP, an underground Meitei outfit. Operating from bases in a neighboring country, senior NRFM leaders were previously involved in violence and extortion in various parts of the Imphal valley. The recent development is anticipated to encourage other underground Meitei outfits to engage in the peace process, pursuing their demands democratically. Additionally, it aligns with the Narendra Modi government’s vision for an “insurgency-free and prosperous northeast.” As part of the peace pact, UNLF, the oldest Meitei terror group based in the Imphal valley, has committed to renouncing violence, even as a ban on UNLF under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) was extended by five years last month.