A separatist insurgency began in 1964, although momentum to a more violent phase did not occur until 1978. The Separatists demand a sovereign state separate from the Union of India, a claimed lack of development, plundering of local resources, and a general discontent is part of their argument. The international Human Rights Watch, argues that human rights violations by Indian Security Forces have only fuelled the insurgency. It adds that the Indian Army have at times acted with impunity as anti-terrorism laws in the state make prosecution of human rights violators difficult.
There are currently 34 groups, including non-violent ones, that demand independence from India. In 1999, some of these groups coalesced into an alliance organization called the "Manipur People's Liberation Front." Of these, the three most prominent are the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), Peoples Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), and PLA of Manipur. The UNLF is estimated to have 2500 active militants, the PREPAK with 1500, and PLA with 3000. The Indian news organization, Rediff, contends:
As of today, Manipur is the worst case scenario in the north-east as far as militancy is concerned. Apart from the fact that there are more militant groups in the state than anywhere else -- at least seven prominent groups operate in Manipur -- the rivalries between these outfits often leads to greater violence.
The Kuki insurgent groups want a separate state for the Kukis to be carved out from the present state of Manipur. The Kuki insurgent groups are under two umbrella organisation, Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and United Peoples Forum.
The situation is further complicated because insurgent groups are not united in the same cause. The Nagas wish to annex part of Manipur and merge with a greater Nagaland or Nagalim, which is in conflict with Meitei insurgent demands for the integrity of their vision of an independent state. There were many tensions between the different tribes and have witnessed numerous clashes between Naga and Kukis, Meiteis and Muslims.