The Election Commission (EC) has allowed the cadres of the pro-talk rebel outfits of Manipur who are currently residing at various designated camps to vote in the forthcoming Manipur Assembly elections.

The poll panel on Friday notified that members of Manipur insurgent groups that signed ceasefire agreements with the government and whose names are listed in the electoral rolls are entitled to vote by postal ballot.

The two-phased Manipur Assembly election will begin on February 27.

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

Cadres belonging to these insurgent groups are currently residing at designated camps set up by the government in different Kuki-dominated areas in Manipur.

The EC has taken the decision in 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, said the chief electoral officer (CEO) of Manipur in a statement.

According to the statement, the decision was made considering that “a number of persons belonging to the SoO and MoU groups living in the 14 designated camps in Manipur have been enrolled in the electoral rolls of various assembly constituencies of the state”.

As such, the EC has directed that these electors shall be allowed to vote by postal ballot, taking into account the right of franchise of such electors as they cannot move out of the said designated camps, the statement said.

Efforts will be made to see that voters are not required to travel more than the prescribed limit to cast their vote and hence, the centres’ location will be finalized as required, it said.

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