Manipur polls 2017: AFSPA aggravates militancy in the state, says Irom Sharmila's party

Manipur is going to polls in two phases on March 4 and March 8 and the counting will be held on March 11.

Manipur polls 2017: AFSPA aggravates militancy in the state, says Irom Sharmila

Human rights activist-turned-politician Irom Sharmila's political party, the Peoples’ Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA), has said that there were only four insurgent groups when the draconian AFSPA was introduced in Manipur in the 1980s and the number has gone up to 32 since.

“The AFSPA is not about militancy and counter-insurgency. It is something beyond that. To deal with militancy and counter-insurgency, you may need laws and programmes but the AFSPA is not one of them. “In the 1980s when the AFSPA was introduced in Manipur, there were only four insurgent groups and in 2016 there were more than 32 groups reported… The AFSPA is not the medicine for militancy. It has clearly multiplied the disease. The AFSPA is there to extract resources from Manipur,” said Erendro Leichombam, the convener of PRJA party, told news agency

Press Trust of India.

Leichombam added that his party, which is fielding 3 candidates in 60 seats Manipur Assembly, would work towards the removal of the Act, which gives sweeping powers and immunity to the army in conflict-ridden areas, from Manipur first and "then moved the Parliament to repeal it from all places across India”.

On the possibility of a future alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in view of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s appreciation of Sharmila, he said, “We are a very new party, we are barely five months old. We want to make sure we establish our own identity and foundation and once we are assured of the party strength, only after that we will be looking at an alliance.”

Manipur is going to polls in two phases on March 4 and March 8 and the counting will be held on March 11.

The AFSPA crusader Irom Sharmila will contest against the 3-time chief minister of the state, Okram Ibobi Singh, in Thoubal seat, while PRJA convener Erendro Leichombam and co-convener Najimi Bibi will fight Manipur Assembly election 2017 in Thangmeiband and Wabgai seats respectively.