New Delhi cops baton charge anti-AFSPA rallyists
Source: The Sangai Express

New Delhi, October 11: Delhi police personnel resorted to baton charge to disperse demonstrators who were agitating against the continued imposition of Armed Forces (Special Power) Act 1958. According to separate releases of the Working Committee of the Apunba Lup and Manipur Students' Association Delhi the rallyists comprising of over 3000 NE students, rights activists and numerous individuals converged at Delhi's ITO at around 11 am before marching towards Parliament Street even as Delhi police barricaded the route.

Despite strong presence and concerted attempt of the cops to prevent the rallyists from foraying into Parliament Street, the slogan shouting protestors managed to breach the security cordon and squated at ITO road.

As the demonstrators persisted with the agitation accompanied by slogans against AFSPA, 'down with State terrorism', 'stop repression, respect human rights', 'Save democracy, repeal AFSPA' and the number of protestors swelled steadily, additional security forces arrived leading to baton charge and forcible huddling of the protestors into police vehicles for further detention at IP Police Station, detailed an Apunba lup release.

The Lup also informed of the remaining protestors herded into Ambedkar Stadium where a meeting was held with numerous speakers unanimous in condemning atrocities committed by security personnel under the immunity granted by the AFSPA.

Amid the pandemonium a section of the protestors proceeded towards the official residence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and protested for a brief moment before the security personnel present in the highly sensitive area detained about 40 persons, Lup source added.

The Lup release further insisted that the police crackdown vividly reflect yet another manifestation of unbridled power exercised by security forces to subjugate democratic movement.

Meanwhile, MSAD contended that in the course of the police crackdown upon the demonstrators demanding complete repealing of the repressive Act from the North East region, many suffered injuries of varying degree while over 70 were taken into police custody.

The rally comprising students from the North East, representatives of civil society organisations, human rights activists, rights conscious individuals blocked the Ring Road of the National capital before being dispersed.

The demonstrators raised banners and shouted slogans condemning suspension of democratic rights, violation of human rights and military response of the Government in dealing with the political issues of the North Eastern region, said the MSAD.

Conveying that the demonstration was held to extend solidarity and support to the ongoing democratic struggle of Irom Chanu Sharmila to end State terrorism in the region, particularly in Manipur State, the student organisation reminded that Sharmila, who is in her sixth year of peaceful protest against the draconian Act, is still persisting with her demand in custody.

Sharmila, who continued her hunger strike at Jantar Mantar was arrested on charge of attempted suicide on october 6 and has been forced fed in custody since then, it added.

Elucidating that the demonstration is in response to the prevalence of the systematic pattern of violations and abuses unleashed by the State under emergency legislations and long standing issues of impunity and denial of justice to the people of North East, MSAD also reiterated that people of the region have been questioning rationality of AFSPA and protesting against it since the Act's inception in 1958. Pointing out draconian implications of the Act with particular reference to articles 4 and 6 of the AFSPA 1958 that empowers the armed forces to operate with special powers including suspension of right to life without judicial remedy considered to be the genesis of custodial killing, torture, sexual harassment, unwarranted search, involuntary disappearance perpetrated by the uniform personnel, the Delhi-based student body construed that AFSPA undermines the democratic right of the people of the North East to decide their own political future.

The mass demonstration reflects yet another expression of anger and discerning voices against human rights violations and injustices under the objective conditions of State terrorism in India in confronting the insurgents in Manipur, MSAD maintained.

MSAD fully acknowledges the multi-national character of the Indian sub-continent and firmly believes that the democratic issues raised by the nationalities to defend their national and democratic rights cannot be suppressed through undemocratic military tactics and responses, MSAD opined.

The nationality question being political issue, MSAD believes that investing the military to deal with such political issues would culminate in State sponsored terrorism in the North East, it added.

PTI adds: Scores of Manipuri students were today detained here after they staged a demonstration outside Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's residence violating prohibitory orders demanding scrapping of the Armed Forces Special Power Act imposed in the state.

The protestors, including hundreds of girls, gathered outside Gandhi's 10, Janpath residence, a high-security zone, in the evening and demanded an audience with her, catching the police totally unawares.

"The security guards deployed at the UPA chairperson's residence told the protestors that she was out of station and their grievances could be given in writing to them," P Rakesh, former president of Manipuri Students Union in Delhi, said.

The students, however, refused to disperse after which police forcefully removed them.

Students claimed that police used batons to disperse them, a charge strongly denied by the Delhi Police.

Student union leaders claimed that around 500 people were detained and kept at Parliament Street and Tughlaq Road police stations.

However, Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Anand Mohan said only 150 students were detained and let off after a stern warning.

A delegation of students also met Union Minister Oscar Fernandes and sought an appointment with Gandhi, but he did not give any commitment, Rakesh said.

Here in the State, reports of sit-in-protests staged at different locations and expression of strong condemnation against the arbitrary detention of Sharmila continued to flood in unabated.

Alleging that both the Central and State Govts have been ignoring genuine outcry of the people by being indifferent to the on-going democratic campaign of Irom Chanu Sharmila, All manipur Rickshaw Drivers and Pullers' Welfare Association called upon members/colleagues to stage sit-in-protest at the respective parking zones from 12 noon till 2 pm tomorrow.

Under the aegis of Poirei Leimarol Meira Paibi Apunba Manipur members of Khwai Nagamapal Nishaband Association organised a dharna at Nagamapal Road with similar demonstration also held at Babu Bazar by womenfolk of , Kiyam, Kiyam Siphai and Haokha.

Members of All manipur Nupi Marup in a meeting held at Irabot Bhavan today also decided to hold a dharna on October 13. Meanwhile, Manipur People's Party informed of its president Dr Chandramani leading a six member party delegation to call on the Governor Dr SS Sidhu to appeal for the latter's personal intervention on the people's movement against the AFSPA.

The Governor was reported urged to intimate central leaders for repealing the Act from manipur as well as the entire NE region, save the life of Irom Chanu Sharmila and make public and implement recommendations of the Jeevan Reddy Committee.

Conveying that Dr Sidhu had assured to highlight the people's sentiment to the Central Govt, an MPP release named Dr Nimaichand Luwang, Col (Retd) H Bhuban, Paonam Achou, RK Anand, L Jayantakumar and L Jatra as the other party leaders who met the Governor this afternoon.

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