Civilians to be provided arms to fight militants

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Imphal, May 3: The Manipur government has decided to provide arms and ammunition to the people of the state to defend themselves from militants.

Official sources said here today the state Cabinet, presided over by Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh, discussed the issue last night at a meeting which lasted for more than three hours.

In the first phase, the people of Heirok and Chajing would be provided security by opening special posts to be commanded by Special Police Officers (SPOs).

The people of Heirok in Thoubal district had been demanding for the provision of arms following the killing of three people by militants on March 24.

Besides, a 53-year-old man was killed by militants at Chajing in Imphal West on April 23.

The state government had been considering the possibility of providing arms and ammunition to the people since the past few days.

About 300 youths at Heirok and 200 youths at Chajing, commanded by police forces, will be recruited to provide security to the people. Each youth would be provided with Rs 3,000.

The modalities would be worked out by a police team, headed by a DIG, and the entire process was expected to start by next month, officials said.

The recruitment would be done under the guidance of the Deputy Commissioners of the concerned districts.

The Manipur Police Housing Corporation will construct barracks for the recruits and all of them would be provided with .303 rifles and motorcycles.

The volunteers, however, would not be allowed to venture out of the specified villages.

Meanwhile, two officials from the Union Home Ministry were presently in the state capital to take stock of the prevailing law and order situation.

The state Cabinet also decided to reward Rs 10 lakh to the Manipur police team, led by Imphal East SP Th Radheshyam, for arresting six notorious militants of the banned People's United Liberation Front (PULF) at Mysore.

UNI

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