Former rebels belonging to seven outlawed underground organisations have once again threatened to go back to jungle to take up arms if the government backs out of the commitments made while signing a memorandum of understanding. These rebels had come overground on the basis of the MoU.

Talking to reporters on Thursday, Ruhini Puyam, home secretary of the United Revolutionary Front, the group in favour of talks, said former insurgents, lodged in a designated camp, are disillusioned over the government failing to make arrangements to enable them to cast votes in the Parliamentary elections on Thursday. This despite the fact that O.Nabakishore, Chief Electoral Officer, Manipur, had written letters to officials asking them to make necessary arrangements.

Voting rights

Mr. Puyam further said there were 584 former rebels in the camp. At the time of signing the MoU, the government agreed that they had become Indian citizens without any conditions. It means that the government should have allowed them to cast their votes.

The Chief Electoral Officer had pointed out that these inmates could go to their respective villages to cast their votes and the Director General of Police should make special arrangements to provide them security.

Mr. Puyam said Corcom, the apex body of six proscribed underground organisations had, threatened to kill the former insurgents. Unlike some other former insurgents who had joined the national mainstream after signing the suspension of operations they are not allowed to handle weapons. However, the signatories of the suspension of operations were allowed to cast their votes within the designated camps in full combat fatigue and carrying automatic rifles. They did not have to go their villages for security reasons.

Mr. Puyam further said that the MoU signatories hail from many far-flung villages in valley districts. It was not practical to escort them to their villages. Secondly, since all of them had been insurgents for about 30 years their names did not appear in the voters’ lists. He said the government should have updated the voters’ lists.

  • 534 designated camp residents could not cast their vote

  • CEO had asked officials to make arrangements for their voting