Manipur govt extends AFSPA for 6 months; students on protest

Imphal: In view of the prevailing situation in strife-torn Manipur, the state government has extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) in the entire state, excluding 19 police station areas including Imphal, for six months.

A notification issued by the Commissioner (Home), T Ranjit Singh, said that the Governor of Manipur hereby accords approval to declare the entire state of Manipur, excluding the areas falling under the jurisdiction of 19 police stations, as “Disturbed Area” for a period of six months with effect from October 1.

The “Disturbed Area” under the AFSPA was in force in the same areas earlier, whose tenure had lapsed recently. Meanwhile, many agitating students were injured this week after security forces fired several rounds of tear gas shells to disperse them in Imphal’s Moirangkhom area, about 200 metres from the Chief Minister’s secretariat. The police said that the agitating students pelted stones on the security forces, who then fired tear gas shells and smoke bombs to disperse the mob.

Extending AFSPA in Manipur, the Commissioner (Home) said that the Governor is of the opinion that violent activities of various extremist/insurgent groups warrant the use of armed forces in aid of civil administration in the entire state, except the areas falling under the jurisdiction of 19 police stations – Imphal, Lamphel, City, Singjamei, Sekmai, Lamsang, Patsoi, Wangoi, Porompat, Heingang, Lamlai, Irilbung, Leimakhong, Thoubal, Bishnupur, Nambol, Moirang, Kakching and Jiribam.

More than 180 people have been killed and several hundred injured since ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on May 3 when a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organized in the hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status.

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