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Manipur: Student attempts self-immolation
G Vinayak in Guwahati/PTI | August 15, 2004 17:26 IST
Last Updated: August 15, 2004 23:35 IST
A student attempted self-immolation while a 23-year old girl, injured during police action on August 7, died as protests intensified on Sunday in Manipur demanding withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from the entire state.
Twenty-eight year old Pebam Chittaranjan, adviser of Manipur Students Federation, on Sunday morning torched himself after pouring oil at Bishenpur market, about 40km south of Imphal, demanding repeal of the Act, official reports said.
He was taken to Regional Institute of Medical Sciences in a 'very serious' condition with 90% burns. Dr N Jitendra, the surgeon on duty, told rediff.com, "We are trying our best to save him but the extent of burns is too severe and is unlikely to survive. We can only pray to God."
Several student activists shouted slogans demanding withdrawal of the Act from the entire state minutes before Chittaranjan attempted self-immolation at 11am.
However, Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh seemed to be a combative mood. He threw the gauntlet at the 32 organisations agitating against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act saying if they cannot restore normalcy he will be forced to reimpose the Act, which was lifted from the municipal areas of Imphal last week on a trial basis.
"I took a big risk in lifting the AFPSA partially much against the advice of the Centre. It is now up to the protesters to show that withdrawal of the Act can bring back normalcy. If that does not happen, I may be forced to reimpose the Act," Ibobi told mediapersons immediately after delivering a stern speech at the Independence Day parade in the morning.
"If any responsible citizens or organisations will guarantee that there will be no extortion, kidnapping or killings in the areas where this Act has been withdrawn, I will be able to tell the Centre to lift it from the entire state," he said.
Significantly, he questioned the antecedents of Th Manoram Devi, whose death allegedly at the hands of Assam Rifles personnel on July 11, triggered the current agitation in Manipur.
Assam Rifles claims that she was a member of the banned People's Liberation Army (PLA).
"What is her background? Conducting agitations based on emotions and sentiments will not do. The ground reality will have to be taken into consideration," the chief minister said.
Meanwhile, 23-year-old Konjengbam Nimita, who had been hit by tear gas shells during police action about a week ago, succumbed to injuries on the way to J N Hospital in Imphal, sources said.
Several local organisations in separate statements expressed shock over her death.
Meanwhile a human chain was formed on Sunday at Wabagai, about 35km southeast of Imphal, in Thoubal district as part of the movement to press for the withdrawal of the Act.
Besides the 32 organisations, student bodies like Manipur Students Federation (MSF), All Manipur Students Union (AMSU) and Democratic Students Association Manipur (DESAM) participated in the agitation.
More reports from Manipur
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