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Left divided on Manipur issue
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 17
Differences have cropped up within the Left parties on tackling the Manipur situation on the eve of a crucial meeting of the UPA amidst reports that the Centre is considering to impose President’s rule in the state.

While the Left parties are unanimous in criticising the government for its delayed action in controlling the situation in the state, the CPI and the CPM differ on the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

CPI National Secretary D. Raja today said the government should have withdrawn the Act and “now it is too late and the state is in a mess.” He said Assam Rifles should be immediately moved out of Kangla even though it was quite late in the day. The CPI leader indicated that the government seemed to have no policy on how to deal with the “mess” in the state where agitations had been continuing.

However, the CPM was cautious in its response to the delicate situation emerging in the strategic northeastern state.

CPM leader in the Rajya Sabha Nilotpal Basu said the government should review the jurisdiction of the Act so that the people were not put to any hardship.

Clearly indicating that the party was not in favour of the withdrawal of the Act, he said there were security issues involved.

He said the government while reviewing the Act should not put the people to hardship and create conditions for talks with the rebel groups.

Stating that a unilateral decision to withdraw the Act could not be taken, Mr Debabrata Biswas of the All-India Forward Bloc (AIFB) said the government should review the Act as it pertained to all seven states in the North-East.

Pointing out that the Centre had delayed taking action, which had resulted in the worsening of the situation in the state, he said the state government should be consulted before taking any decision.

On the reports of the Centre considering President’s rule in the state, the leaders said the Manipur issue would be raised at the UPA meeting where we expect the government to put the record straight.

The government should try to integrate the people of Manipur and not further alienate the state, the leaders said, clearly indicating that the imposition of Central rule would not serve the desired purpose.

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