EC approved postal ballots for pro-talk rebels in Manipur Assembly election

pro-talk rebel

The Election Commission (EC) has granted voting rights to cadres of Manipur’s pro-talk rebel outfits who are currently residing in various designated camps in the state’s upcoming Assembly elections.

Members of Manipur insurgent groups who signed ceasefire agreements with the government and whose names are on the electoral rolls are eligible to vote by postal ballot, according to the poll panel.

On February 27, the two-phased Manipur Assembly election will begin.

In 2008, the state government and the Centre signed a tripartite Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement with over 20 Kuki militant groups operating in Manipur under two conglomerate groups — United People’s Front (UPF) and Kuki National Organisation (KNO).

Cadres from these insurgent groups are currently residing in government-run camps in Kuki-dominated areas of Manipur.

According to the chief electoral officer (CEO) of Manipur, the decision was made in the exercise of powers conferred by clause (c) of Section 60 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and in consultation with the central government.

The decision was made after “a number of persons belonging to the SoO and MoU groups living in the 14 designated camps in Manipur were enrolled in the electoral rolls of various assembly constituencies in the state,” according to the statement.

As a result, the EC has ordered that these electors be allowed to vote by postal ballot, taking into account their right to vote as they are unable to leave the designated camps, according to the statement.

It said that efforts will be made to ensure that voters do not have to travel more than the prescribed distance to vote, and that the locations of the polling stations will be finalised as needed.

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