Manipur Govt Decides To Extend AFSPA

IMPHAL: Manipur government has decided to extend the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958 in the state for one more year from December 1.

The decision to extend the AFPSA was taken last evening during a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh, sources said today.

As per provisions of the act, the Governor would issue an official gazette notification declaring the state as ‘disturbed area’ under which the AFSPA could be extended.

Under its provisions, power is given to even a non-commissioned Army person to shoot any suspect, even to death, if the latter acts in contravention of law.

Sources said seven assembly segments in and around Imphal municipal areas would not come under the purview of the disturbed area status because the act had been withdrawn from these assembly constituencies in 2004 following an agitation.

The act was first promulgated in the entire state in September 1980 when insurgency movement by different outfits, waging an armed struggle for an ‘independent Manipur,’ was at its peak.

However, according to social organizations, thousands of innocent people had since been killed by security forces “in the name of tracking down insurgents” in “encounters or fake ones”.

In 2004, a Manipuri girl who was alleged to have some links with a militant outfit was arrested by Assam Rifles personnel and her bullet-riddled body was found next day in Imphal East district.

This led to widespread protest by various social bodies for several months forcing the state to withdraw the act and disturbed area status from seven assembly segments of Imphal municipal areas.

Well-known social activist Irom Sharmila Chanu had completed 10 years of fast unto death on November 2, demanding withdrawal of the act from Manipur after Assam Rifles personnel shot dead ten “civilians” on November 2, 2002, at Imphal airport area. She is being fed through nose since she began her protest.

(Courtesy: The Economic Times)

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