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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 August, 2004, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
Bid to axe Manipur 'terror' law
Manipur protetors
There have been several demonstrators against the law
The government in the troubled north-east Indian state of Manipur has recommended the withdrawal of a controversial anti-terror law.

The federal government will now decide on the recommendation.

Demonstrations have rocked the state demanding the withdrawal of the legislation, which Manipuris say is misused by the troops.

The protests against the law started after a local woman was allegedly raped and killed by soldiers.

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

Wide ranging powers

Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh told reporters that the state government had decided to recommend withdrawal of the law from the municipal areas of the state capital, Imphal.

The state government has, however, recommended that the law remains in place for the rest of the Imphal valley and hill districts bordering Burma.

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act 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.

However, the federal government has removed some soldiers belonging to Assam Rifles, a paramilitary force, from their traditional base in Manipur to another location, some 17km away.

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eight of his own Congress party legislators and five Communist legislators backing his coalition that if the law is not withdrawn immediately they will withdraw support.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 demonstrations in Imphal.

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