Arrangements have been made to enable the inmates of the designation camps of the valley based underground organisations to cast their votes on Thursday. Talking to reporters on Tuesday the chief electoral officer, Manipur, O. Nabakishore said that there are 584 former insurgents in the camps belonging to seven underground organisations. These underground outfits had signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the central and state governments.
He said that he had written a letter to the authority to allow them to cast their votes. These inmates could go to their villages and if their names are in the electoral rolls they could cast their votes.
However sources said that in practical terms it means that these inmates cannot exercise their franchise. First on security grounds they cannot go to their villages. Besides as they have been underground for a number of years their names do not appear in the electoral rolls. The chief electoral officer did not explain why he is taking this double standard since these conditions were not applied in case of the tribal outfits which are signatories to the suspension of operations. The suspension of operations signatories were allowed to cast their votes in full combat fatigue and wielding automatic rifles in the hill districts.
It may be recalled that the other day leaders of these outfits said that they would go back to the jungles and take up arms if they are denied the right to voting. What the chief electoral officer said is not the solution since under the arrangements the inmates of the designated camps cannot cast their votes. The CEO further said that 136 companies of security forces and 47 companies of unarmed companies will be deployed in the valley districts to ensure law and order during the elections on Thursday.