The Telegraph
Saturday , May 24 , 2014
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Meet prospects brighten

- Manipur JD-U to help arrange Sharmila-Modi talks

Imphal, May 23: Human rights crusader Irom Sharmila’s wish to meet the Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi may be fulfilled after the Manipur unit of JD (U) volunteered to make the necessary arrangements.

“We will help Sharmila in her efforts to meet the Prime Minister-designate to give her the opportunity to petition him personally for fulfilling her dream of repealing the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act,” JD (U) state unit president M. Tombi told The Telegraph.

Tombi offered to help after Sharmila had expressed her desire to meet Modi to personally press her demand of repealing the army act. She has been on fast since November 5, 2000, demanding repeal of the act.

“I would like to meet Narendra Modi and appeal to him to listen to my voice and the voices of the people against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act,” Sharmila had said, on her way to appear before the Imphal East chief judicial magistrate, A. Noutuneshwari Devi, on Wednesday.

The Imphal court is hearing the case on charges filed against her by police on attempting to commit suicide.

Sharmila will also appear before the Patiala House Courts, which summoned her on Wednesday in connection with her hunger strike in New Delhi in 2006.

Tombi will be attending the party’s national executive committee meeting on Sunday in New Delhi to review the party’s performance in the Lok Sabha election.

“A team of the BJP’s Manipur led by president Thounaojam Singh is currently in Delhi to attend the swearing-in of the new Prime Minister and his council of ministers. With assistance from the Manipur BJP unit and our party leaders, we will request Modi to meet Sharmila,” Tombi said.

The Manipur units of the two parties have been working jointly on important issues like the Manipur-Myanmar border dispute. Before the Lok Sabha polls, both the units had promised to work towards withdrawal of the army act from Manipur.

“The BJP promised to repeal the act and so did we. As a BJP-led government will soon be in place in Delhi, it is about time we start working on what we promised the people,” he said.

The JD (U) does not have any legislator in the Manipur Assembly, while the party contested the Outer Manipur Lok Sabha seat and lost.

Tombi said a joint team of the BJP and the JD (U) would meet the new Prime Minister to highlight some major concerns of the state.

“We will be urging the new government to resolve the Manipur-Myanmar border dispute, set up a highway protection force for making the two lifelines of Manipur free from extortion, strikes and blockades, among others,” Tombi said.