IMPHAL: In a major blow to Manipur's top militant group People's Liberation Army (PLA), its Revolutionary People's Front's (RPF) top commander, self-styled 'Lt Colonel' Irom Ibotombi Meitei surrendered before Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Monday.
The RPF is the political wing of the PLA, one of the oldest among the around 20 outlawed groups in Manipur. Monday's development comes close on the heels of 14 cadres of the banned rebel outfit United Tribal Liberation Army laying down arms around two weeks back.
The Chief Minister, accompanied by Chief Secretary Rajesh Kumar and Director General of Police P Doungel, welcomed the 56-year-old Meitei to the mainstream.
Police and Intelligence officials said that Meitei was the RPF's Deputy Secretary in-charge of Health and Family Welfare and a resident of Nambol Thangtek in Bishnupur district, and had been associated with the outlawed outfit since 1994.
"Ibotombi came to the mainstream after expressing his trust in the political changes that took place in the state by the Central and state governments.I would like to appeal to the misguided youths who left their homes for a cause, to come back and join the mainstream so that they can live peacefully and contribute themselves for the all round development of Manipur," Singh told the media.
The Chief Minister also tweeted: "In yet another encouraging development, Lt Colonel of underground outfit RPF (PLA), Irom Ibotombi Meitei have surrendered today.The recent homecoming of numerous cadres of underground outfits shows the trust in the leadership of Hon'ble PM Shri Narendra Modi ji." (IANS)
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