TODAY -
Repeal AFSPA protest intensifies
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 13: Security forces deployed in the vicinity of the highly sensitive zone of Raj Bhawan and chief minister's bungalow had a torrid time in foiling numerous demonstration groups heading into these areas from different directions today.

Responding to the call of the working committee of the Apunba Lup, state public apart from staging sit-in-protests at different locations also took out protest rallies across the state demanding complete repeal of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 from the North East region, especially from Manipur.


Demonstrators demanding repeal of AFSPA confronting security personnel.(Bottom) Protest rallies held at different places

The wide spread protest came a day after the Lup, a conglomerate of numerous civil society organisations and three student bodies announced general strike and boycott of the visit of President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam to the state slated for October 16.The rallyists who attempted to breach the security cordon intending to demonstrate at the gates of Raj Bhawan and the CM's official residence were driven back by the security personnel beyond the periphery of the sensitive zone.

The agitators, however, took their time staging sit-in-protests near the sensitive zones including at Keishampat Junction, Khoyathong, Palace gate besides report of similar protest culled from other places.

The protestors held placards reading 'Repeal AFSPA', 'Save Sharmila Chanu', 'Stop state terrorism', etc.

Amid tight security, agitators also burnt effigies of the Prime Minister, Home Minister and Chief Minister at the gate of LMS law college today.

Even as security personnel prevented womenfolk from closing in towards the CM's residence at New Checkon's Poreilomba, women vendors of the historic Khwairamband Keithel were barricaded from leaving their market place by the uniform personnel.

However, a group of about 14 elderly women succeeded in shouting slogans for saving Sharmila's life near the Raj Bhavan gate at around 3 pm before they were herded out from the area.

The same group again showed up near the CM's residence and laid down on the road when police personnel tried to dispersed them.

The slogan shouting group had to be physically lifted from their protest spot. At around 4 pm another section of protestors led by Keishamthong AC MLA L Ibomcha raised slogans near the Raj Bhavan's entrance but the protest lasted for a while.

As pre-emptive measure, the bus parking at Keishampat was shifted, wo-men folk seen in the city area dressed in traditional mourning attires were stopped and checked, besides rickshaws prevented from entering market place.

At Pangei area people from Tangkham, Waiton, Haraorou and nearby areas took out a protest rally that culminated with the effigies of the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Home Minister Shivraj patil and CM O Ibobi consigned to flames.

Sit-in-protests were also staged at Khagempalli Huidrom Leikai, Khabam Lamkhai, Luwangshangbam, Khonghampat, Kanglatongbi and Sekmai Bazar while students of Sekmai the area participated in a rally.

Protest rally was also organised by 13 meira paibi groups of Lamshang area.

Mention may be made that Apunba Lup had declared a nine hour general strike coinciding with the President's visit whom the body accused of being insensitive to sentiment of the general public for repealing the draconian act.

All Manipur Students' Union, Democratic Students' Alliance of Manipur and Kangleipak Students' Association had also announced that students would boycott their classes on the day of the president's visit opining that as the head of the State Dr Kalam should ensure protection of the citizens' lives.

Meanwhile NCP national general secretary (youth) in-charge of north east Vinod Shinha has assured of hard pressing the central leaders to repeal the controversial act that empowers security forces to act without any apprehension for punitive action inspite of misconduct.

"There is no need to impose this act which guarantees sweeping powers to security forces to act anything they desire.

I'll positively intimate the hurt sentiments of the people of Manipur and their long standing demand to scrap the act to our leaders", Vinod said at a press conference this afternoon.


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