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Manipur SDPO shot dead in snipper attack; state govt recommends banning tribal group under UAPA

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Imphal, Oct 31 (PTI) A senior police officer of Manipur was shot dead by suspected tribal militants in Tengnoupal district on Tuesday prompting the state government to recommend declaring World Kuki-Zo Intellectual Council (WKZIC) as a banned group under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

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Sub-divisional police officer Chingtham Anand, a resident of Imphal's Haobam Marak locality, was killed in a snipper attack while he was on duty overseeing the cleaning of the grounds of Eastern Shine School for construction of a helipad jointly by the police and BSF, officials said.

He was taken to a primary health centre in Moreh where he succumbed to injuries, they said.

Within minutes, the state cabinet met under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Biren Singh and announced a relief of Rs 50 lakh to the kin of Anand.

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It also decided to provide a suitable government employment to the next of the kin of the slain police officer.

"In view of today's incident leading to killing of a senior police officer, the Cabinet therefore approved to recommend for declaration of the World Kuki-Zo Intellectual Council (WKZIC), as an unlawful association/organization under section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967," an official release said.

However, the state government's recommendation have to be confirmed by the Centre, which is the deciding authority on declaring an organisation as unlawful under the UAPA.

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The Manipur cabinet, in its meeting, noted that WKZIC had issued a press release on October 24 calling upon the Kuki-Zo community to have "sufficient stock" of arms and ammunition as it will "face another war" in November before the harvesting season.

The group also informed that youth volunteers would be the ones going to face the "war" on the frontlines and the Kuki National army and underground groups won't be able to join the "war" freely in view of SOO agreement, the state government release said.

The group had further informed that its national volunteers shall be equipped with the best arms and if required, unlimited ammunition will be supplied. The Manipur cabinet noted that an FIR was already lodged against the organisation on Monday.

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The cabinet also decided to instruct the security forces to "launch a joint operation in Moreh and its adjoining areas to arrest the culprits responsible for the crime" and "noted that additional state forces have been detailed from Imphal for the purpose. The operations have since started".

The cabinet instructed central and state forces to ensure free movement of vehicles on Pallel-Moreh road NH-102 which connects Imphal valley with the border town, a distance of around 110 km.

Manipur has been on the boil since May 3, when ethnic clashes broke out between the Meitis and the Kukis. More than 180 people have lost their lives in the violence.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mostly in the hill districts. PTI COR ACB SKL ZMN

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