BISHNUPUR, February 9: The Humans Rights Initiative Manipur, HRI and the Apunba Nupi Lup, Bishnupur organised a one-day district level People’s Consultation on Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 in Manipur at the Yangoi Ningthou Community Hall, Bishnupur Bazar, today.
The consultation was attended by Bishnupur Municipal Council, chairperson L Lonindro as chief guest; ANUL, president Sumati Oinam as president; and HRI acting chairman advocate Y Ratankumar and Thoubal GP pradhan Bormani Devi as guests of honour.
Delivering the key-note address, HRI executive director W Joykumar said that in consideration of the sufferings of the people because of the continued imposition of the act in the state, there has recommendation to repeal the Act from various quarters including intellectuals from both inside and outside the country.
The government has continued to brush aside all such recommendations, citing that the Act has been placed in order to contain the law and order problems arising due to the armed movement in the state, he said.
However, how much the Act has been able to control the insurgency movement in the state is obscure, he said.
While, it is said that the Act will die its natural death once the law and order situation improves in the state; the politicians have always maintained while speaking about their governance that the law and order situation has improved, he asserted.
He further said that today’s meeting was organised with the main objective of encouraging a united front of the people and initiate a movement demanding repeal of the Act.
Lonindro speaking as the chief guest said that until some years ago, whenever someone was arrested, people used to come out in full force and demand for release of the individual. Now, people have to go to the IO of the case and give Rs 10000 to 20000 to pray for the release, he continued.
He further elaborated that once the case reaches the court, then, after paying the fees of the advocates, people have to cough up atleast, Rs 60000-70000 for the release of the arrested person.
This show that under the cover of the Act, there are people who are earning money, and in order to check this, the Act needs to be repealed at the earliest, he observed.
Three victims of the Act who also attended the consultation elaborated on the difficulties they have to face in their day to day life.