BJP men kidnapped in Manipur

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Imphal, April 3 : After a brief lull, kidnapping of key political functionaries by armed rebels continues to haunt Manipur. Active workers of political parties including a former Minister were kidnapped ahead of the Lok sabha elections. The BJP is the first victim of such abductions in the north-eastern states. Worried leaders and candidates have been sending frantic messages to the national leaders of the parties in this regard.

On Wednesday night an active member of the BJP identified as Anam Zimik, who was the former president of the party’s Ukhrul district was abducted by suspected armed rebels. His whereabouts are not known.

On Tuesday night a former Minister, Khasim Ruivah and his son were abducted by suspected cadres of this rebel outfit. They were returning home after attending the election campaign of Gangumei Kamei, the BJP candidate for the reserved Outer Manipur constituency, which goes to polls on Wednesday. They were whisked away to undisclosed places.

In protest against the abduction people staged a sit in protest in front of the BJP office in Ukhrul. They demanded unconditional release of the father and son duo. Ruivah and the son were released on late Wednesday night. They are not talking to press or police. However police believe that they had been warned not to support the BJP candidate.

Gangumei Kamei and the Manipur unit BJP president Chaoba Thounaojam have strongly urged the national leaders to secure the release of the abducted father and son duo. They are believed to have pointed out that the rebel outfit had signed ceasefire with the union government and as such the union government should ask it to set them free.

Ruivah had been member of some other political parties in the past. He had become the Education Minister after winning the elections in the Federal Party of Manipur ticket. He and Kamei are long time political associates. They are together again as members of the BJP.

Some rebel groups had opposed the elections. However this is for the first time that prominent politicians supporting the candidates have been abducted. Because of such abductions and possible attacks on the candidates electioneering are at the lowest ebb in the interior hill areas on security concerns.

The Election Commission of India is in touch with the Manipur government regarding this new threat. The Manipur government is likely to demand for more paramilitary forces.

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