PULF militants surrender Imphal, June 14: Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, the top brass of Assam Rifles and state police celebrated the success in bringing an entire group of a Peopleâ€™s United Liberation Front (PULF) faction back to the mainstream. Around 40 cadres of Umar Farooque faction of the PULF, an armed Meitei Pangals (Manipuri Muslim) group, laid down arms in a function attended by chief minister Ibobi Singh at the Assam Rifles headquarters at Mantripukhri on the outskirts of Imphal city today. Led by the groupâ€™s chairman Umar Farooque, the cadres, including â€œfinance secretaryâ€ Md Abdul Kadir, â€œchief of army staffâ€ Md Denny and â€œgeneral secretaryâ€ Belal Khan, brought along 36 weapons, including M-16s, rifles belonging to the AK series, self-loading rifles and pistols. PULF emerged as an armed group after a communal clash between Meitei Pangals and Meiteis in 1993, resulting in the death of more than 100 people. After the killing of its leader Bashir Lasker by Assam Rifles troops on May 11, 2006, in Thoubal district, PULF split into various factions. The groups recruited cadres from the Muslim community and were operating in Manipur. Some of its leaders are taking asylum in other Indian cities. From Ibobi Singh to senior Assam Rifle officials, everyone explained that it was a case of â€œhomecomingâ€ and not surrender. â€œPlease take it as a case of homecoming and not surrendering either to the Assam Rifles or the state government,â€ Ibobi Singh said, welcoming the group. He said this was the second militant group in Manipur, after the Kangleipak Communist Party (Military Council), coming back to the mainstream after years of living in the jungle. The KCP (M-C) headed by Lallumba gave up arms en masse a couple of years back. The PULF surrender is a morale booster for the Ibobi Singh government and security agencies. Belan Khan, spokesman for the outfit, said the group would help the government in its efforts to bring other groups back to normal life. â€œAfter years of hardship we were waiting for an opportune time to return to normal life. We want to see our families. So we came back today. We will help the governmentâ€™s peace efforts. We also like to appeal to other groups to rethink and come back to normal life,â€ Khan said. The surrendered cadres mingled and interacted with their relatives who had turned up to attend the programme. They were seen sharing jokes and snacks during teatime. â€œToday is the happiest day of my life. Ever since my husband left home five years back, I could not sleep properly. Today is a new chapter in our life,â€ the wife of one of the surrendered militants said.