PM Modi has shown his back to Manipur, says Congress
The entire state has been declared as a “disturbed area" and AFSPA extended for six months
The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which grants special powers to Indian armed forces to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”, has been extended for six months in violence-torn Manipur.
According to a government notification, AFSPA has been extended across Manipur, barring 19 police stations. The entire state has been declared as a “disturbed area” for a period of six months, said the notification.
"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, 2023," the notification reads.
The police station areas where AFSPA has not been imposed are: Imphal, Lamphel, City, Singjamei, Sekmai, Lamsang, Pastol, Wangoi, Porompat, Heingagng, Lamlai, Iribung, Leimakhong, Thoubal, Bishnupur, Nambol, Moirang, Kakchin and Jirbam.
The extension came a day after the state capital Imphal was rocked by protests over the death of two students, 17-year-old Hijam Linthoingambi and 20-year-old Phijam Hemjit, who had gone missing on 6 July at the height of ethnic violence in Manipur.
Police fired teargas shells and baton-charged protesters. As per media reports, nearly 45 students, including girls, were injured. Following the protest, the state's BJP government had ordered a CBI inquiry into the deaths of the two students.
Reacting to the development, Congress leader and Assam MP Gaurav Gogoi attacked the Modi government at the Centre for not being able to protect the people of Manipur.
Hitting out at PM Modi, Gogoi said the PM has shown his back to Manipur. “The prime minister of the country has shown his back to Manipur. Violence started in Manipur about 5 months ago, but PM Modi has not gone there till date. Has the country made Narendra Modi PM just for publicity and inauguration? We want to know how many times PM Modi himself has talked to CM Biren Singh in the last 5 months?” asked Gogoi.
Demanding immediate action against “criminals”, Gogoi said the BJP government has suppressed the voice of people by force.
More than 180 people have been killed so far, and several hundred injured since ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on 3 May, primarily between Meiteis and Kukis. Thousands of people have been rendered displaced and homeless.
While Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal valley, tribals, including Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mostly in the hill districts.