ibnlive » India

Nov 23, 2006 at 02:53pm IST

UNLF in combat mode, dares Army

UNLF Camp and Myanmar Border: Manipur-based militant outfit United National Liberation Front or UNLF has warned that the state is soon going to witness a flare-up as the outfit plans to take its war for ‘liberation’ of Manipur into the streets, by sparking a civil unrest.

Separatist leader and UNLF chairman Sanayaima told CNN-IBN special investigation team that UNLF's goal is an independent Manipur and the Manipur People's Army was ready to take on the Indian state in the Imphal Valley itself.

“We'll always try to give a surprise to the Indian forces. Even Pranab Mukherjee, India's Defence Minister admitted in Parliament that it was difficult to get to our base areas,” said Sanayaima.

He also indicated that the MPA was prepared for an urban guerilla war. “We have always avoided direct confrontation and that is part of our strategy. We fight when we want. We fight when we can,” he said.

The Indian army commenced operations to flush out the UNLF from its jungle camps in October 2003.

With a collective strength of 55,000 cadres, the Indian Army clearly outnumbers the MPA that operates with nearly 2,000 men.

But Sanayaima claims that it’s their motivation towards their cause that gives them an edge.

“We have a cause to fight for. For us, it's a question of life and death. If we stop fighting, we don't exist as a nation - as a people. For India, its just an effort to maintain their colonial hold on our people,” he said.

The MPA has access to sophisticated weapons from the international market that include AK assault rifles, M-16s, G3s, grenade launchers, mortars, and weapons seized from the Indian army.

Sanaiyama alleges that the Indian Army is spying on their areas. “India is using unmanned spy planes to do recce over these areas,” alleges Sanayaima.

Therefore, heavy equipment like 30mm anti-aicraft gun, have been acquired to counter aerial or heli-borne operations of the Indian Army.

So while the UNLF is well equipped for a protracted guerilla war, the question is whether the Government of India will keep pushing the Army in search of a bloody and elusive peace?

Or will it use political imagination to remake the idea of India?

(With inputs from Rajesh Bhardwaj and Rohit Khanna)