Source: Hueiyen News Service
Imphal, June 17 2009: Ms Agatha Sangma, Union Minister of State for Rural Development has assured that she will place the issue of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 in the parliament.
She gave the assurance while meeting the Iron lady, Irom Sharmila, who has been on fast for the last nine year demanding repeal of the draconian law.
Agatha Sangma, who arrived here on a two-day visit, directly proceeded to JN Hospital, Porompat in Imphal East district where Sharmila has been lodged in the security ward for the last around nine years.
She has been force-fed.
On her arrival at the Imphal airport, Agatha was received by state Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister, Md Allauddin along with officials of the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj department, NCP leaders and workers.
Her audience with fasting Sharmila was accompanied by president of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Manipur unit, Radhabinod Koijam and NCP MLAs, Th Nabakishor, Salam Joy and Doukhomang Khongsai.
In the brief interaction, the youngest Union Minister from the North Eastern state of Meghalaya promised Sharmila that she will bring up the matter of repealing AFSPA in the parliament.
She maintained that she also supports repealing of the Act.
"I assure you that I will put up your demand for repeal on the floor of the House and look into what can be done from her side.
Repeal of the Act is also among the agenda included in the election manifesto of the NCP," Agatha reiterated.
Taking serious note of the issue, she will put up the matter to the level of the Union Home Minister and discuss what steps could be taken up, Agatha said.
Sharmila later handed over two poems written by her to the NCP president requesting him to publish the same in the newspapers.
Later, speaking to media persons, Ms Agatha said that the issue is not related with her ministry but she wanted to meet Sharmila who has been fasting more than eight years now.
The Act itself is a big issue in the Union Home Ministry.
She will put up the issue on the floor of the parliament.
Replying to question raised by media persons, she expressed confidence that if there is development in the region, insurgency problem could be solved citing that backwardness is behind the insurgency.
The Union Minister held a joint meeting at the Chief Minister's Secretariat along with Ministers of Rural Development, PHE, Power, Health, Soil Conservation and Works and reviewed the progress status of various central sponsored rural development being implemented in the state.
She also called on Chief Minister, O Ibobi later and held consultation on the priority projects which Manipur government wanted to take up with the Centre's assistance.
The state Government hosted a cultural programme this evening in honour of the visiting Union Minister who will be leaving Imphal for Guwahati tomorrow.