Mobilisation against Armed Forces Special Powers Act continues
The state police today foiled an initiative of Amnesty International India and the Imphal based People´s Right Organisation to hold a peaceful human-chain protest near the western gates of the Kangla against the continued imposition of the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 in the state.
Around 150 students from schools located in the city area were dispersed at around 11.45 am today by the state police who refused permission to hold such demonstrations in the area which has been declared a hypersensitive security zone.
In the meantime, Munindro Waikhom, member Amnesty International India and campaign in-charge for Manipur while speaking to the media appreciated the overall restraint shown by the police force in dispersing the schoolchildren inspite of some harsh words that were used.
He however stated that higher-up officers and the state government which had taken the decision to disperse the peaceful campaign were not acting in the interest of the people.
Today´s human chain protest was to have been organised as part of a nation-wide initiative by Amnesty International against the AFSPA, with similar protests being held in other cities like Delhi, Chennai, Agra, Bhubaneshwar and Pune.
Munindro in this connection wondered why the peaceful democratic protest taken up in the state at the first and direct country-wide initiative of Amnesty International India was not allowed in the city when it was allowed in high security zones in Delhi and the other cities.
The Amnesty International India member questioned whether the state government is against lifting the AFSPA from the state.
Further, the AII member who is also the chief executive officer of People´s Right Organisation also stated that all necessary applications for permission were submitted to concerned authorities though there were no response.
The chief minister O Ibobi Singh also did not provide any room for discussions when Raj Doctor, director of Amnesty International´s India office contacted him over telephone prior to the start of the demonstration today.
Later, in the press conference held at the Manipur Press Club today, Munindro presented copies of all the necessary documents furnished to the state authorities seeking permission for the demonstration today and also Amnesty International´s nine-page report on the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 which it says has sanctioned official killings in Manipur.
All Manipur United Club`s Organisation (AMUCO)