Imphal, Jan. 10: Alarmed by the Heirok youths' "fake surrender" fiasco, Manipur deputy chief minister Gaikhangam has issued guidelines to the police top brass regarding surrender programmes.
He asked the police to first verify the antecedents of individuals wanting to "surrender" and look for police records before accepting anyone as a militant.
The guidelines, which came after media reports about a woman taking seven youths from Heirok village in Thoubal district to an Assam Rifles post in Chandel district for a surrender programme, stated that anyone who did not have a police record could not surrender.
The woman, identified as Purnima, took the youths to the 42 Assam Rifles post promising to get them recruited to the paramilitary force. There, she handed them over to her husband, S. Gambhir, believed to be a surrendered militant who stays at the Assam Rifles post.
The youths created a furore when they were asked to sign some documents declaring themselves as members of a rebel outfit, Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup, who were willing to surrender. They subsequently informed their parents over phone.
Purnima and Th. Rameshore, her landlord, who is the father of one of the seven youths, were arrested.
"The Heirok incident is very unfortunate and embarrassing. This is a lesson and a glaring example of fake surrender attempts. This will not happen again. We will look into the case and do the needful," Gaikhangam, who is also the home minister, told reporters today.
He said the police top brass had been instructed to consult police records first to find out if anyone coming forward for surrender claiming to be a rebel had any police record.
"The police should not accept anyone for surrender without confirming his or her antecedents even if the individual or his/her family members make such a claim. Until and unless there is a police record, no one should be accepted for surrender," Gaikhangam said.
He gave the "strict instructions" to the police because the central forces told him that only militants verified by the police were allowed to surrender.
Gaikhangam also released a photograph of NSCN (IM) cadre R.P. Livingstone and said a 15-member joint political delegation would go to New Delhi on January 16 to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and other central leaders to seek their help in arresting Livingstone. Ibobi Singh will head the political delegation and Gaikhangam will be a part of it.
Livingstone allegedly molested film actress Momoco during a concert in Chandel district on December 18. The incident triggered a public outcry, which is yet to calm down.
Though the state government announced a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh for Livingstone's arrest on December 24, his photograph was released to the media only today.
In a related development, the rebel Revolutionary Peoples Front today said the Heirok case was just one of the "surrender dramas" enacted by Assam Rifles and urged the people of Manipur to be cautious.