IMPHAL, Jan 24 � About 197 Kuki underground cadres including few cadres of proscribed Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) Lalumba group will be given an opportunity to cast their votes in the Manipur Assembly polls on January 28.
Speaking to this reporter, N Praveen, Joint Chief Electoral Officer of the State said, �the step has been taken up following permission from the Election Commission of India (ECI).�
Nineteen Kuki militant outfits operating in Manipur with more than 1,000 cadres are presently stationed at 16 designated camps in three hill districts of Senapati, Chandel and Churachandpur. They are in a tripartite Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement involving State and Central Governments since August 2008.
Some cadres of the proscribed Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP)Lalumba group which is also under SoO will also be allowed to cast votes. They are housed at 7 Battalion Manipur Rifles campus at Khabeisoi in Imphal East district.
The Election official informed that postal ballots would be issued to 197 militants who are valid voters among those in the designated camps. Arrangement has been made to enable the militants to take part in the democratic process of the country as per directive from the ECI, the official added. An official notification has also been issued in this regard recently.
�One Nodal Officer with subordinate staff would be deputed at all the 16 camps to assist the cadres in electing their candidates,� he said. All the cadres of SoO signatory outfits must not move out from their respective designated camps on the election day.
State Chief Secretary DS Poonia expressed the need to deposit arms and ammunition under lock and key inside their designated camps during the polling day, sources here said.