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Will Manipur throw out Armed Forces Act?

August 12, 2004 15:21 IST

The Manipur Cabinet will on Thursday discuss the situation arising out of the agitation to press for withdrawal of the contentious Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from the state.

The ongoing agitation affected work in government offices for the fourth day.

The decision to hold the emergency Cabinet meeting was taken with the situation becoming tense due to intensified stir by the 32 organisations spearheading it, official sources in Imphal said.

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, who sent Industries Minister Th Debendra Singh to Delhi yesterday to apprise the central leaders of the latest situation, wanted to hold the Cabinet meeting after his return.

But some ministers objected to it and wanted the Cabinet to take a formal decision without any further delay 'since the situation was becoming grave', the sources said.

Some Cabinet ministers and ruling legislators were also 'very unhappy' over the delay in holding the Cabinet meeting to take a formal decision whether the Act would be withdrawn or not.

Besides, the eight Congress legislators, including two ministers, who had earlier announced that they would resign from the assembly if the Act was not withdrawn by August 15, wanted the Cabinet to take a decision on the issue immediately, the sources said.

Some CPI members, including senior leader and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ph Parijat also wanted the Cabinet to take a formal decision whether the Act would be withdrawn partially or fully from or before August 15.

Meanwhile, normal life was affected in the hill districts following the 12-hour bandh by student organisations to press for withdrawal of the Act.

The bandh began at 4:00 am and no untoward incident was reported from anywhere so far with security personnel deployed and patrolling intensified at all the important places of Chandel, Ukhrul, Senapati, Tamenglong and Churachandpur districts, official sources said.

The towns wore a deserted look with people prefering to stay indoors. Markets, shops and business establishments remained closed, while attendance in government offices was almost nil.

Transport services between the hills and valley were also suspended in the bandh by All Tribal Students Union Manipur and All Naga Students Association Manipur.

Supporters of the movement also prevented hundreds of officegoers at Kwakeithel, Wangkhei, Lilong, Tera, Khongnag Ani Karak and several other places in Greater Imphal area, reports said.

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