AHRC urges PM for release of arrested student activist

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Imphal, May 16 (UNI) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has urged him to intervene into the illegal arrest of a student activist in Manipur.

Sapam Cha Kangleipal, a student, was arrested on May 7 for organising a protest meet under Manipur Forward Youth Front (MFYF), against the recent recruitment drive of Special Police Officers (SPO) in the State.

He was initially detained in police custody and later produced before the local magistrate, who remanded him to six days of judicial custody.

Though, Sapam was released from the original charges on May 13, he was rearrested on the same day on additional charges framed under the National Security Act, 1980.

The Manipur government has been recruiting special police officers under the pretext of countering insurgency activities since early this month, the AHRC informed.

However, the move to train civilians to counter-attack insurgency in the State was opposed by various civil organisations and intellectuals across the country.

The AHRC has contended that the same move was applied in Jammu and Kashmir and Chhattisgarh but remained unsuccessful. The states even witnessed a series of protests in this regard.

The human rights organisation also said the civilians armed with 303 rifles would only provoke the insurgents to attack more innocent citizens.

It may be noted that the Indian Police Act 1861, Section 17, present since pre-Independence is still applicable and allows the State government to recruit SPO's and provide arms to the civilians.

However, this was sought to be scrapped off and redrafted by the Centre on at least three previous occasions.

UNI NS PP SRC GT GC1925

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