P C Lawmkunga and Maninder Singh,the chief election officers of Manipur and Assam,respectively,will be representatives of the Indian government during the Myanmar parliamentary byelection on April 1. The Centre selected the two officials after receiving a request from Myanmar to send observers for the polls to be held in 48 constituencies.
The Myanmar government will host a number of international observers,including those from the US,Europe and other South-East Asian countries,to ensure free and fair elections,the first in erstwhile Burma since the military Junta took over.
Lawmkunga said they were yet to receive a brief from either the Indian or the Myanmar government. We will reach Rangoon late tonight. Tomorrow,all international observers will be briefed by the foreign minister of Myanmar. It is possible that we will be told of our duties then, he said.
Sources said the two were chosen not only because of Manipur and Assams geographical and cultural proximity to Myanmar but also because they had successfully carried out elections in their states under difficult circumstances.
52 rebels give up arms in Manipur
In one of the biggest surrenders till date,52 cadres of the Kuki-dominated insurgent group,United Tribal Liberation Army,surrendered before the 57th Mountain Division of Indian Army on Tuesday. The event was attended by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh and officiated by GOC Red Shield Division,Major General Binoy Poonnen,who claimed that the surrender more or less ended the Kuki insurgency in Manipur.