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Armed Forces Special Powers Act to be withdrawn from Imphal
August 12, 2004 15:43 IST
Last Updated: August 12, 2004 20:13 IST
The Manipur government on Thursday withdrew the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act from seven assembly constituencies in Imphal areas inspite of the Centre not favouring it.
Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh said the government decided to lift the act from muncipal area having ten per cent of the total population of about 24 lakh people.
The chief minister admitted that the Centre was not in favour of withdrawing the act and under section 3 it could withdraw or reimpose the act in the state.
The decision to withdraw the act from all Imphal municipal areas under the jurisdiction of seven assembly constituencies was taken in view of the people's demand for lifting it from the entire state.
Stating that the government could not fulfil the full popular demand, the chief minister said the Cabinet reviewed the overall situation arising out of the custodial killing of Th Manorama Devi by Assam Rifles personnel on July 11 and following the demand for lifting of the Act by the people.
The chief minister said the Centre's argument for not lifting the Act was that if it was withdrawn what would be the reactions from neighbouring Assam, Nagaland Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya.
Ibobi Singh said except Sikkim, the Act was in force in these northeastern states.
He said the people of Manipur had been facing atrocities on them by the army, military and security forces for the last 24 years since the Act was first imposed in the state, while at the same time anti-socials had been creating problems.
The Chief Minister quoted statements of some organisations, without mentioning their names, that 'time had come for a civil war', 'for a referendum' and 'Manipur should be delinked from the mainland'.
"What is this? How can we tolerate such actions or statements," he questioned, adding these organisations had earlier closed down counters of Indian Airlines and private airlines.
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