Gaikhangam breaks silence on Sharmila’s re-arrest

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IMPHAL, August 23: Before the Armed Forces Special Powers Act could be repealed from the State it is necessary to improve the law and order situation first, said deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam appealing Irom Chanu Sharmila to end her fast.

Instead, Sharmila should help in convincing others to leave the path of violence, he said today while attending the closing function of the two-day sensitisation programme on Human Rights of Indigenous People.

The programme was held at the Centre for Human Rights and Duties Education, Lecture Hall, Manipur University.

He said Sharmila’s life is precious for the people of the State and it is the government’s responsibility to look after her.

Her detention in the hospital is only to provide proper care and medication, he said.

Coming to the demand for implementation of the Inner Line Permit System in the State, he said the government also feels that the indigenous people should be protected.

He said Ukhrul, Moreh and Jiribam are the worst affected places by the influx of foreigners.

The present Congress government is for the people and the various charges one gets to hear at public forums these days that it is not doing much on the issue of ILPS are unwarranted.

Meanwhile, speaking at the same function, advocate Khaidem Mani took a rather contrasting stand to the deputy Chief Minister’s views and said Sharmila’s re-arrest is not to save her, but an effort to slowly kill her.

If the government is at all concern, then it should commit to her demand and repeal AFSPA, he said and added Sharmila will continue until her demands are met.

If, unfortunately Sharmila was to die before her demands realise, the government should be held responsible, he asserted.

Although, her fast has already crossed 13 years demanding repeal of the Act, the government hasn’t even communicated with the Centre on the issue, he charged.

The demand for implementation of the ILPS in the State is not to drive out non-locals, the advocate said while elaborating that the public is demanding that the non-locals be brought under a regulation which will benefit the State and the indigenous population.

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