Militants shoot dead ex-Manipur top cop
Militants in the north-eastern state of Manipur shot dead two people, including a former police chief, triggering panic ahead of Monday's general election, officials said on Sunday.
A senior police official said two motorcycle-borne rebels belonging to the outlawed Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) killed former Manipur Police chief L Jogeshwar outside his residence in state capital Imphal.
The incident occurred late on Saturday night.
"Jogeshwar was talking to someone outside his house when two militants walked up to him and fired with automatic weapons from very close range. He died instantly," the official said.
The KYKL has claimed responsibility for the killing, saying Jogeshwar was shot as he was campaigning for a BJP candidate in the polls.
Jogeshwar's son had married the daughter of the BJP candidate.
In another incident, KYKL rebels abducted a BJP worker on Saturday evening and later shot him dead on the outskirts of Imphal.
The KYKL had warned the BJP against conducting any electioneering and threatened "capital punishment" to anyone found campaigning for the party.
Elections to one of Manipur's two Lok Sabha seats will be held on Monday.
Saturday's killings were the latest in a string of attacks on politicians in Manipur. Earlier on Friday, militants opened fire on the homes of three ministers though there were no casualties. Whereas on last Tuesday, attacks by militants and the kidnapping of poll officials marred voting for the other seat.
Earlier this month, vice president of the Manipur unit of the BJP, N Tombi Singh, escaped an assassination bid by KYKL rebels.
The KYKL, fighting for an independent homeland for the majority Metei community, issued its ban on the BJP, saying the party in Manipur under its president Thounaojam Chaoba Singh was working against the interests of the people of the region.
Some 19 rebel groups are battling in the state for demands ranging from secession to greater autonomy.
At least three of them have called for a boycott of Monday's polls, which are part of the third phase of the five-phase Lok Sabha election. One group has declared a general strike starting on Sunday at midnight.
Elections in the northeast are invariably marred by violence with militant groups targeting politicians.
Political parties in Manipur were hamstrung by rebel diktats, with candidates unable to move freely and voters keeping away from even indoor meetings organised by the parties.
Over 30,000 paramilitary troopers have been deployed in Manipur for providing security during polling on Monday.