AFSPA to be extended by another six months in Manipur

Hardnews Bureau

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) will be extended by another six months in Manipur except for the Greater Imphal areas. Chief Minister N Biren presided over a Cabinet meeting which continued till late on Sunday and decided to approve an extension of disturbed area status in the state, excluding the Imphal Municipal areas for another six months.

In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act,

1958, the Governor of Manipur declares the entire state of Manipur, excluding the Imphal Municipal Area, as "Disturbed Area" for a period.

The exemption of the Imphal Municipal Areas covering seven Assembly constituencies of Thangmeiband, Uripok, Sagolband, Keishamthong, Yaiskul, Singjamei and Wangkhei became

effective from 2004 following a massive protest against the alleged rape and murder of

Thangjam Manorama by 17 Assam Rifles personnel on 10 July 2004. 

The army is empowered to detain anybody on mere suspicion in the areas where AFSPA is imposed. Irom Sharmila became an iconic figure after she launched the longest fast unto death stir demanding the repeal of AFSPA.

Meanwhile, the state Cabinet has also approved the revised surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy for the surrendered militants of the state.

As per the revised policy approved by the state Cabinet, the monthly stipend of the surrendered underground cadres would be hiked from Rs 4,000 to Rs 8,000 per month for a period of three years. Of Rs 8000, an amount of Rs 2000 shall be counted as ration money. 

Moreover, a one-time financial grant provided by the government to the surrendered would be increased from Rs 2.50 lakh to Rs 4 lakh, which will be kept as a fixed deposit in the bank account of the surrenderee for a period of two years with an option to withdraw after the completion of three years.

The surrendered militants would also receive the facility of medical reimbursement of up to 75 percent of the total expenditure during the stay at rehabilitation camp on the ailments declared eligible and notified by the State Health Directorate. Apart from it, the government is also trying to explore new job prospects for them in the security forces for the physically fit cadres with special relaxation in terms of age and qualification for employment in special battalions. The Cabinet has also given its nod to raise a special unarmed battalion for surrendered militants in the state.

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