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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 August, 2004, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
Many injured in Manipur protest
Angry residents in Singjamei in Manipur
Manipur has been wracked by demonstrations
At least 25 people have been injured after police used force to break up demonstrations in the north-east Indian state of Manipur.

Protesters tried to enter government buildings in the capital, Imphal, to enforce a strike demanding the withdrawal of an anti-terror law.

The armed forces say they need the law's sweeping powers to help fight separatists in the state.

The state cabinet deferred a decision on Wednesday on withdrawing the law.

'Misused' law

Police used tear gas shells and rubber bullets and resorted to baton charges in Imphal to disperse angry protesters.

The protesters included women, many of whom blocked roads leading out of Imphal by burning tyres, felling trees or sitting on the roads.

"The main focus of the movement is on the series of atrocities committed by soldiers over the years on innocent people," human rights activist RK Anand told Reuters.

The BBC's Subir Bhaumik says the state government is under intense pressure over the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

It gives the security forces wide-ranging powers to arrest and detain people.

Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee has ruled out withdrawing the special law from the state. The federal government say the act is essential for operations against separatists.

But the state cabinet on Wednesday despatched a minister to Delhi to inform it of the political turmoil the affair is causing.

Chief minister Ibobi Singh has been threatened by eight of his own Congress party legislators and five Communist legislators backing his coalition that if the law is not withdrawn immediately they will withdraw support.

Last week, more than 100 people were injured after police used force to break up a demonstration in Imphal.

Manipuris allege the law is often misused by the troops.

The protests against the special law started last month after a local girl was allegedly raped and killed by Indian troops.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Geeta Pandey
"The mood is still pretty ugly here"



SEE ALSO:
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Manipur curfew after child murder
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Police break up Manipur protest
16 Jan 03  |  South Asia


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