Imphal: The Homecoming Ceremony of 68 cadres of outlawed Manipur militant groups in Imphal on the eve of 71st Independence Day marked a landmark in The Art of Living’s efforts of bringing peace in troubled areas.
The 68 cadres, who surrendered on August 14, came from the 11 most dreaded outfits operating in Manipur, including six factions of Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP), two factions of People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), People’s Liberation Army (PLA), United National Liberation Front (UNLF), and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL). The event took place in presence of Chief Minister N Biren Singh and Swami Bhavyatej and Deepa Dave of The Art of Living, along with top ministers and officials. A formal agreement is likely to be signed between KCP-MTF and the Manipur government soon.
Since last many years, The Art of Living volunteers, led by Deepa Dave and Shanti Meitei, have been working to take the message of peace to the ultras through various sources and channels despite the risks involved. The team even reached out to insurgent groups across the borders.
Thanks to these efforts, many groups opened up and their intermediaries have met Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar several times in Bengaluru and Manipur and stayed in touch with his emissaries. The confidence-building measures initiated by Gurudev played a major role in changing the hearts and mind of the cadres. Gurudev himself visited Imphal last year and held series of discussion with various individuals and groups on ways of adopting permanent peace in Manipur.
Despite reluctance and cynicism from many corners, these sustained efforts have paid off after 68 militants, including four women , came on ground
with a big cache of arms and ammunition at a simple, but impressive ceremony in Imphal a day before Independence Day.
In a series of tweets, Chief Minister of Manipur N Biren Singh expressed his gratitude to The Art of Living and Gurudev.
“Thanks @SriSri Ravi Shankar ji, today Manipur
restoring peace under your tireless efforts and blessings; 68 militants back to mainstream,” he tweeted. In another tweet on Independence Day, he also said he was very proud of The Art of Living’s tireless efforts to bring peace in Manipur.
On his part, Gurudev welcomed the surrendered youth to be part of the process to rebuild a harmonious and developed society and reassured of his continued efforts to ensure that they get a dignified way of contributing to society.
He also appreciated the proactive stance of the Manipur government and the support extended to The Art of Living volunteers to bring the insurgents to the mainstream. The Art of Living has also offered to work with the government in creating a respectable rehabilitation package for the cadres.
The Art of Living has been tirelessly working in Manipur over the last 15 years, bringing its life-transforming programs to all sections of society, including influential civil society groups. It has also conducted several programs in prisons where many arrested cadres of outlawed outfits not only got an experience of inner peace, but also came in touch with Gurudev’s vision for a peaceful and prosperous Manipur. It has also trained cadres of groups under Suspension of Operations Agreement with the Government of India.