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`Imposition of Special Powers Act a futile exercise'

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, SEPT. 3. L. Ibomcha Singh, a member of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, said today that imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Manipur was a "futile exercise'' and it had proved "counter-productive'' yielding negative results.

In a statement here, Mr. Singh said that further continuance of the AFSPA would erode the "delicate social fabric and the people who have already bore the brunt of the Act will be further alienated from the national mainstream.''

On the eve of the Union Home Minister, Shivraj Patil's three-day visit to Shillong and Imphal, Mr. Singh expressed the hope that the Home Minister would make a public announcement assuring withdrawal of the Act. He said there were a number of general and special laws for prevention of terrorism and insurgent activities and the AFSPA was not needed. He said that if the Centre could withdraw the Prevention of Terrorism Act, there was no reason why the AFSPA should be allowed to continue.

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