Ibobi under pressure to reimpose AFSPA Act

Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh is under pressure to re-impose the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 in the seven Assembly segments in the Imphal municipal area in the wake of attacks on security personnel.

Security has been beefed up on an unprecedented scale in and around the capital following two bomb strikes on September 5 and 8 by insurgents, who said these were just a beginning.

Security forces from the hills may be brought to the four valley districts and if violence still continues, additional security forces will be sought from the Centre, according to indications.

It was on August 12, 2004 that Mr. Ibobi lifted the AFSPA from the seven Assembly segments following a public outcry.

Earlier on July 11, a young girl was allegedly gang-raped and shot dead by security personnel. This incident triggered a massive protest. Three days later, 12 women activists assembled in front of the Assam Rifles camp, disrobed themselves and screamed at the personnel.

Though Mr. Ibobi said the AFSPA might be lifted from other segments also if there was good response from insurgents, within two days — on August 14 that year — a hand grenade was lobbed into the ISKCON temple here during a Ras Lila festival, killing six persons and wounding several others.

Now, the Manipur People's Army, military wing of the United National Liberation Front, exploded a scooter bomb at Keishampat on September 5, injuring three personnel of 28 Assam Rifles. On September 8, the People's Liberation Army, military wing of the Revolutionary People’s Front, detonated a remote-controlled bomb near Imphal, wounding a jawan.

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