The United Liberation Front of Asom and five other northeast outfits have stepped up activities to draft a cadre of 30,000, supposedly a precondition for getting aid from China to fight the Indian state.
Senior leaders of these six organisations — four from Manipur, one from Nagaland and ULFA — met in Bangladesh in the first week of July to further this course of action.
“One way to get Chinese support and fight the enemy (India) towards achieving sovereignty is to form our United Front,” said a leader of the Manipur-based People’s Liberation Army.
The Bangladesh meeting came at a time when two suspected Chinese spies were arrested in Nagaland. Assam Rifles troopers caught them when they were on their way to Myanmar from a camp of the Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) on the Nagaland-Manipur border.
Their identities have not been revealed. “The two have been handed over to the Nagaland police,” said Assam Rifles spokesperson Lt Col A.K. Chaudhari.
Led by SS Khaplang, a Burmese Naga, this wing of the NSCN attended the meeting despite being on ceasefire mode. The minutes of the meeting, with HT, say the other Manipur-based bodies backed the PLA idea on one condition — the independence of Manipur.
The other three Manipur organisations are United National Liberation Front, Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup and People’s Revolutionary Army of Kangleipak.
UNLF Chairman R.K. Meghen backed the guerrilla bloc on the independence of a Manipur that will include the Kabaw Valley in adjoining Myanmar.
“The bulk of the Burmese people on the border support our struggle for independence and will join the Meitei confederacy for prosperity,” he said.
The Meiteis are the dominant community of Manipur, concentrated in the Imphal valley.
An independent Manipur, the leaders believed, would lead to self-rule for the Nagas, the Ahoms (Assam’s erstwhile ruling dynasty), and so on.
“Most of these outfits are depleted and with a cadre strength of 1,000-3,500. The meeting underscores their desperation, but we are taking note of this move,” an army officer said.