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Home > News > Report

I have taken a risk: Manipur CM

G Vinayak in Imphal | August 12, 2004 19:21 IST

Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh says he is aware that his decision to partially remove the contentious Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 is a risky proposition given the state of law and order in Manipur.

But he is confident that people will rise to the occasion.

Addressing a press conference immediately after visiting the Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital to meet Irom Sharmila, the girl who has been on a fast unto death since November 2000 to demand the withdrawal of the AFPSA, Ibobi said, "The onus is now on the people to ensure that law and order does not deteriorate further. I have taken a risk in partially lifting the act bowing to their demand."

He also disclosed that his government had appealed to Sharmila to give up her fast unto death.

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Recalling the events of the past one month during which Manipur has seen unprecedented protests over the demand for withdrawal of the contentious Act, the chief minister said, "What happened with Manorama is unfortunate but it must be remembered that the Assam Rifles does not work under the state government. The Centre is not in favour of lifting the Act since it will trigger similar demands from other states in the northeast. But we have bowed to the people's demand since we are a democratically elected government. The Centre has the power to overrule us, but we hope it will not do so."

Ibobi Singh also warned anti-national forces in Manipur for their fissiparous tendencies and talked about stern action against anyone who indulged in secessionist activities.

"Manipur is very much a part and parcel of India and no one should have any doubts about it. Anyone violating the law will be dealt with firmly," he warned.

The chief minister did not specify how long this decision will stay but hinted that the experiment may be called off if the government felt the law and order situation was getting out of hand once again.

Analysts in Imphal feel Ibobi may have bought some time for himself but people in the other parts of the state, especially in the Hill districts may create trouble and start an agitation to remove the Act from there too.

"This is just a first step, let's see how the situation develops from here," he said.

The agitationists are yet to react to the government decision since night curfew is still on here.

More reports from Manipur
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