JD (U) reminds Union Home Minister of BJP`s promise to repeal AFSPA

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IMPHAL, February 14: Janata Dal (United), State unit has reminded the Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh to repeal AFSPA from Manipur as per the assurance given by BJP during the tenure of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

This was stated by JD (U) president M Tombi Singh at a press conference at his office today, highlighting the charter of demands submitted to the Union Home Minister during a five-minutes meeting at Raj Bhavan before the departure of the Union Home Minister and Minister of State for Home, Kiran Rijiju for their next visit at Tripura.

Stating that the Union Home Minister listened to their demands attentively and assured to look into the demands seriously, he said the Union Minister responded positively to their demands.

Tombi Singh said the demands made were the replacing of AFSPA with a more humane Act, the deployment of Border Security Forces by replacing the Assam Rifles at International and State boundaries for safe-guarding the Nation and our State, the establishment of Special `High Way Protection Forces`™ in both the State`™s National Highways and the demolition of un-authorised NSCN (IM) hide-outs and camps at Ukhrul, Tamenglong, Chandel and Senapati districts.

He also stated that the party also told the Union Minister that no compromise must be made on the issue of territorial boundaries and asked for an early political solution with SoOs and surrender groups and also to give special reservation to the unemployed youths of the State in any recruitment of the Central forces.

Tombi further said that all the relevant documents including the notes from the book `India`™s war on democracy`™ regarding the implementation of AFSPA in the state were submitted to the Minister.

Half a century of imposition of AFSPA has escalated discontentment, institutional impunity and militarism in Manipur, he said, as AFSPA grants extraordinary powers to the Armed Forces.

In this context, no legal action can be taken against the Armed forces unless a prior permission is granted from the Union Government, he added.

The Act has created a culture of impunity, and in extreme cases, has given security forces a carte-blanche to commit many offences such as rape, torture and custodial killings, he alleged, adding that opposition to AFSPA has resonated widely in Manipur and the lone AFSPA crusader known as the Iron Lady of Manipur, Irom Shramila has vowed to continue her fast until and unless the act is repealed. He said that he also raised the issue of high-handedness of the Assam Rifles and asked the announcement of the India-Myanmar border area along with the State boundary as a `Special Mission`™.

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