A meeting of the Manipur Cabinet is likely to be convened in a day or two to discuss the growing demand for the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) 1958 from this border State, according to officials. The last Disturbed Areas Act declared for six months expires on December 31.
Officials said that the Cabinet is likely to recommend the repeal of this Act since the Nagaland Cabinet had already adopted a resolution favouring the repeal.
On a number of occasions, Opposition Congress leader in Manipur Okram Ibobi has been pointing out that the Congress government had lifted the AFSPA from seven Assembly segments on August 12, 2004 in view of the improved law and order situation. The government imposed the AFSPA in the State on September 8, 1980.
Congress vice-president and party spokesperson K. Meghachandra said, “Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren has been saying that under his leadership the law and order situation has improved, that all sections of people can now sleep in peace and that they no longer experience midnight knocks. If it is so, the government should lift the AFSPA”.
Some senior politicians say that if Manipur does not follow Nagaland in lifting the AFSPA, the BJP-led coalition government may have to pay a heavy price in the Assembly election early next year.