Imphal, Sep 27: In view of the prevailing situation in strife-torn iManipur, the state government on Wednesday 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 on Wednesday 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.
The students of various schools are agitating for the second day against the kidnapping and killing of two young students, including a girl, who went missing on July 6. Their photographs had gone viral on social media on Monday.
The students, raising “we want justice” slogans, were heading towards Chief Minister N. Biren Singh’s bungalow when the security forces prevented them, leading to the clash.
On the other hand, the women’s wing of Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF), a leading tribal body, staged a massive demonstration in Churachandpur protesting against the delay in CBI probe into the killing and rape of tribals during the ethnic violence, which broke out in the state on May 3.
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.
“It will be premature to arrive at any conclusion or decision on such a sensitive matter without detailed assessment, thereby not appropriate to review the ‘Disturbed Area’ status of the state at the moment.
“The issue of declaration of ‘Disturbed Area’ status is very sensitive and may likely attract public criticism and resistance if proper care is not taken.
“Keeping in view the above and the overall law and order situation in the state and the capability of the state machineries, the state government has decided to maintain status quo on the present Disturbed Area status in the state of Manipur, excluding the areas falling under 19 police stations,” the notification read.