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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 November, 2004, 05:40 GMT
Manipur terror law to be reviewed
Manipur protest
Manipur has been on the boil since July
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said he will review a controversial security law used to fight insurgents in the north-eastern state of Manipur.

The commitment came at a meeting with students, human rights activists and other protest groups from the state.

The controversial law gives the military sweeping powers to arrest, detain and shoot suspects.

Manipur has been on the boil since the killing and alleged rape of a Manipuri woman held by Indian soldiers in July.

Since then, popular pressure has mounted on the government to withdraw the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

The protests were spearheaded by Apunba Lup, a collection of 32 students' and human rights groups, whose members met the prime minister in Delhi.

The security forces have opposed the move to lift the act, saying it will undermine their efforts to fight the insurgents.

'Humane law'

But on Monday, a spokesman for the prime minister said he would consider how a more humane law could be put in place that addressed India's security concerns while respecting people's rights.

"The prime minister hopes and believes that the meeting [with Apunba Lup] will add a new chapter to the history of Manipur," the Press Trust of India quoted the spokesman as saying.

Manipur has been hit by protests after the bullet-riddled body of Manorama Devi was discovered in July, a day after she was arrested by the paramilitary Assam Rifles.

The government says Ms Devi was a member of a separatist group but her family denies this.

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21 Nov 03  |  South Asia

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