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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 August, 2004, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK
Crackdown on Manipur protesters
Thangjam Manorama, whose rape and murder sparked the protests against federal anti-terror laws in Manipur
Protests started with the death of Thangjam Manorama
Police in India's north-eastern state of Manipur have begun a crackdown on protesters who are demanding the lifting of a federal anti-terror law.

Officials in Manipur say at least 30 people leading the protests have been arrested since Wednesday night.

The protests started after a woman soldiers say was suspected of helping separatists was allegedly raped and killed by Assam Rifles paramilitaries.

Protesters say the military misuses the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.


The BBC's Subir Bhaumik in Calcutta says eight of those arrested in the crackdown were women who had stripped in front of the Assam Rifles barracks in state capital, Imphal, to protest against the killing of Thangjam Manorama.

Manipur officials said those arrested would be charged with incitement to violence.

Angry residents in Singjamei in Manipur
More than 100 people were hurt in protests in Imphal last week

They said police were looking for more protest leaders but admitted some may have gone into hiding ahead of the crackdown.

Manipur Chief Minister Ibobi Singh agreed to lift the anti-terror law from Imphal but has now threatened to re-impose it if the protest movement does not stop.

Protest leaders say the movement will continue unless the law is lifted from the whole of the state.

They have called for a boycott of Indian-made goods and asked all legislators to resign within a week as a mark of protest against what they describe as atrocities by troops.

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act gives the security forces wide-ranging powers to arrest and detain people.

The armed forces say they need it to help fight separatists in the state.

Manorama's family say soldiers took her from her home on 11 July, saying she was suspected of helping the insurgents.

A few hours later her mutilated and bullet-riddled body was found by a roadside.

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21 Nov 03  |  South Asia
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13 Nov 03  |  South Asia

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