Armed Forces Act to be amended
Peace essential for Manipur's development Plans for hydroelectric projects, medical institute announced
IMPHAL: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday that the Centre was working on amending the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) to protect human and civil rights.
The people of Manipur were entitled to the same privileges and protection of laws enjoyed by other citizens.
"I had given an assurance earlier that we will try to redress legitimate grievances on the AFSPA. A Committee had been set up to review its provisions and it has done its job. I believe that we need to consider some amendments to the Act by modifying existing provisions or inserting new provisions, whereby it could be made more humane giving due regard to the protection of basic human and civil rights ... The Home Ministry is working on this matter just as I had promised. Once these amendments are in place, I am hopeful that many of your grievances would be effectively addressed."
Dr. Singh was addressing a public rally at the historic Kangla Fort, where he also unveiled the foundation stones for three projects the City Convention Centre, the Manipur Institute of Technology and the National Sports Academy.
There was tight security during Dr. Singh's 120-minute visit to the State, marked by a bandh called by various groups.
The city wore a deserted look, with armed police personnel deployed along the route from the airport to the Kangla Fort.
Dr. Singh said he dreamt of a Manipur, where there was no need for security forces.
Dr. Singh asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to expedite night landing facilities at the Imphal airport and announced the laying of foundation stones for the Tipaimukh hydroelectric project and the Loktak downstream project by Christmas and the conversion of the Manipur Institute of Technology into a National Institute of Technology.
Medical science project
A Rs. 210-crore Regional Institute of Medical Science project under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare would be set up in Imphal to provide facilities on a par with the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences.
Earlier, Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh urged Dr. Singh to consider the sentiments of Manipuris on AFPSA.