The lifting of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 from some areas of Manipur and Tripura to cushion the growing criticism from many sections has failed to have the desired result, apart from the public demand the Jeevan Reddy Commission had made recommendations to do away with this Act.

The Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh told The Hindu that the government had lifted the AFSPA from seven Assembly segments in the Imphal municipal council areas on August 12, 2004 “on experimental basis.” But the response was discouraging. In fact he has been under heavy pressure to re-impose the AFSPA in these segments.

Militants lobbed hand grenades two days later during a religious function at the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in Imphal killing six persons including a young boy and injuring many others.

As the foreign-trained militants had gained upper hand, Manipur was declared “disturbed” and the AFSPA enforced on September 8, 1980. There were numerous allegations of excesses and rapes. The most controversial incident was the alleged rape-cum-custodial death of a young girl, Thangjam Manorama on July 11, 2004 by some personnel of 17 Assam Rifles. The government lifted the AFSPA from the seven Assembly segments in vain bid to mollify the people. The tipping point was the demonstration by 12 naked women in front of the Assam Rifles camp on July 14, 2004 against the killing of Manorama.

In Tripura, the AFSPA was enforced in February 1997 to contain the bloodshed triggered by the tribal militants. Out of 75 police stations it was imposed in 40 police stations. Now it is in force in 25 police stations since the same was lifted from the rest of the police stations. However, there has been no positive response from the militants in both the states. On the other hand, human rights activists and others have been demanding the lifting of the AFSPA.

Irom Sharmila has been on fast unto death from November 4, 2000 demanding the repeal of the AFSPA.

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