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Manorama's death haunts Manipur CM
G Vinayak in Guwahati | August 11, 2004 11:43 IST
It is exactly a month since the death of 32-year-old Thangjam Manorama and things seems to be going from bad to worse for Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh.
With just four days to go before his self-imposed deadline of August 15 to lift the Armed Forces (Assam and Manipur) Special Powers Act, 1958, expires, the CM had thought that Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil's offer to replace the Assam Rifles with the Border Security Force would bring him some respite.
Manorama -- who the army says was a member of the banned People's Liberation Army -- was found dead with torture marks all over her body hours after she was arrested by the troops of 17 Assam Rifles.
Thirty-two organisations are now spearheading an agitation demanding that the Act, which gives sweeping powers to the army and paramilitary, be scrapped.
There has been little or no attempt in Delhi to calm the agitators.
The confusion created by Patil and Mukherjee has only increased the anger.
Mukherjee contradicted Patil by saying: 'The demand for withdrawal of Assam Rifles has been made, but if we were convinced that the state police was sufficient to control the law and order situation, the force would not have been there in the first place. There is no question of withdrawing the Assam Rifles.'
In Imphal, politicians, student leaders and social activists were all unanimous in saying that Patil's offer was not going to solve the problem, because it is the Act and not any specific armed force that is at the root of the issue.
"It is not a question of removing the Assam Rifles. Moreover, if the Centre can consider repeal of POTA, there is no point letting the AFSP Act to continue," said Manipur People's Party chief and legislator O Joy Singh.
More reports from Manipur
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