Manipur Elections 2012: 4th blast rocks Imphal; AFSPA to stay

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In the run up to the 60-member legislative house elections on Jan. 28, Manipur has been through a spate of political attacks. In the fourth attack in the capital of Manipur, Imphal, in the past two weeks, at least two persons were killed and 15 others injured in a powerful explosion Sunday evening. The bomb went off outside the residence of Congress party candidate and Manipur Assembly Speaker I. Hemochandra Singh in Singjamei in Imphal West at around 6 pm. Mr. Singh was attending a poll-related public meeting at a locality nearby.

The blasts have been taking place despite heavy security. As many as 300 companies of various paramilitary forces are stationed in Imphal and across the state.

Just a day before on Saturday midnight two powerful bombs exploded at Ningombam in the Thoubal Assembly constituency, the stronghold of Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh. Three people were injured in a grenade attack on Jan. 10, 2012 when unidentified militants threw a grenade outside the residence of another politician. On Jan. 6, a ruling Congress party election office came under a grenade attack. No one was injured then.

Local militant groups have called for a ban on all election meetings. A CorCom (Co-ordination Committee) of seven banned underground organisations have declared a ban against Congress candidates alleging that Congress to be “anti-people and anti-revolutionary.” The CorCom — of the UNLF, the RPF, the KCP, the PREPAK, the PREPAK(Pro), the KYKL and the UPPK — had “banned” the Congress from contesting the Assembly elections. They also blame Congress for the merger of Manipur with the Indian Union.

In the meantime Okram Ibobi Singh, the Manipur CM for 10 years said in an interview that the controversial Armed Force Special Powers Act (AFSPA) won’t be removed from the entire state. The CM said, “We removed AFSPA from Imphal city….The Centre will not agree to repeal the Act as blasts, killings and extortion continue….”



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