TODAY -
CM tosses AFSPA quagmire for public debate
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 14: Acknowledging general sentiment against continued imposition of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958, conveying sincere desire to respect the public sentiment, citing circumstances that constrained imposition of the Act apart from highlighting present day scenario of law and order uncertainty, the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh has urged the people to introspect demand for complete repealing of the AFSPA.

The Chief Minister stated that recommendations of the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee constituted to review provisions of the AFSPA is being studied minutely by the Government.

Addressing block level Congress party workers and leaders at DMC campus, Thangmeiband today the Chief Minister, who also holds the Home portfolio, said it would be premature to construe that the Act would not be removed from Manipur at all.

Clarifying that the Government has no intention to work against the aspiration of the general public to repeal the Act, he however, called upon the people to introspect under what compelling circumstances the AFSPA was imposed in Manipur.

Recalling that imposition of the Act in Manipur was caused by concerted campaign of some organisations to secede from India, rampant abductions and killings in addition to large scale extortion, O Ibobi nevertheless acknowledged that under the immunity granted by AFSPA security personnel had committed excesses.

He also claimed that the Central Government is well aware of acts of abuses by the men in uniform.

Indicating that prevailing situation is far from conducive to scrap the Act, the CM disclosed that amid intense deliberation over the Jeevan Reddy Commission's report huge monetary demand had forced over 600/700 personnel engaged in the Capitol Project at Chingmeirong to stay idle for the last two of three days.

Citing an example currently besieging the region he reminded all concerned of a recent incident wherein vehicles loaded with materials for the Japan Government sponsored Sericulture Project were hijacked and confined by disruptive elements in between Nagaland and Manipur for over a month.

Moreover, inspite of stationing of security personnel of over seven battalion of the Assam Rifles in between Mao and Moreh, vehicle operators, particularly fuel transporters operating on this section of NH 39 are yet to operate in a secured atmosphere, said the Chief Minister.

In the midst of such rampant disruptive activities that had resulted in cessation of several development works approaching the Central leaders to repeal AFSPA from the entire State is unlikely to evoke any favourable, opined the CM.

Substantiating further, he comprehended that the Centre would most probably arise questions as to the ability of the State Government for efficient administration and safeguarding life and public property in case AFSPA is repealed as it would automatically mean withdrawing Central security forces from the State.

Revealing that the Prime Minister and Home Minister had initially opposed proposal for scraping the Act from seven assembly segments within the Imphal Municipal area after intense public movement in the aftermath of the Thangjam Manorama Devi case, Ibobi said the two Central leaders honoured the public sentiment under the impression that security forces should not be allowed to abuse human rights.

Regarding Irom Chanu Sharmila's fast demanding total scrapping of the Act, Ibobi recalled of his personal intimation and appeal to cease the agitation when AFSPA was repealed from Greater Imphal area but was rejected by her on ground that partial lifting is unacceptable.

Applauding the dedication and courage of the agitating lady who is on her sixth year of fasting, the CM conveyed of making another sincere appeal to give up the agitation when he met her at New Delhi while adding that the issue of AFSPA is being assessed by the Central and State Governments.

In his address at the one day conference organised by Thangmeiband Block Congress Committee, Lok Sabha MP Dr T Meinya contended that the Congress party would table report of the AFSPA review Committee in the forthcoming Winter session of parliament but left it to the prerogative of the Govt on whether to endorse discussion on the report or not.

clarifying that repealing such an Act at the behest of an individual is out of the question in accordance to Indian Parliamentary practices, Dr Meinya also informed that at the most Manipur govt can only press/propose for scrapping the same as the responsibility lies in the domain of the Govt of India.

Ruling out possibility of State's territorial disintegrity, the MP asserted that when Manipur merged with the Union of India the State's boundary was clearly defined.

In case there is any change in the demography of the State under the National State Re-organisation policy of the Indian Union the consequences should be borne by the Centre and not Manipur Government, he added.


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