Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Opposition parties decide to boycott urban bodies polls

The opposition parties in Sikkim today announced their decision to boycott the ensuing urban bodies polls slated to be held on April 27 claiming that the entire election process was 'defective' and 'anti-Sikkimese'.

The state government had conducted the delimitation of the municipalities, nagar panchayats and nagar nigams in an arbitrary manner without consulting the opposition and giving a hearing to the people, alleged the state Congress President Nar Bahadur Bhandari and announced the decision of the opposition parties to boycott the urban bodies polls.

The representatives of the opposition parties like the Congress, BJP and SHRPP had walked out of an all-party meeting called by the state election authorities to seek their support for conduct of the urban bodies polls.

Another opposition party SNPP had announced its decision to boycott the urban bodies polls last week.

Bhandari alleged that the arbitrary manner of delimitation of the territories of various urban bodies and delimitation of seats for various communities were done without consultation with the opposition and the general public to leave them with no no option but to stay away from the urban bodies polls till rectification of the anomalies.

Manipur youths post ire agaist army's special powers

As part of their pressure on the central government, Manipur youth would send al least 15,000 postcards to President Pratibha Patil demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in the militancy-ravaged northeastern state, youth leaders said here Tuesday.

The postcard campaign is being organised by the All India Youth Federation (AIYF), the youth wing of the Communist Party of India (CPI), a junior partner of the Congress-led coalition government in Manipur.

"At least 15,000 postcards would be sent to the president, urging to revoke the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, (AFSPA) from the state," AIYF president Purnimashi Devi told reporters.

The printed postcard reads: "We, the members of the AIYF, on behalf of the Indian youth, appeal to you (President of India) in unison to intervene and initiate urgent measures to withdraw the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from the northeastern states."

"The act has consistently violated the fundamental rights of Indian citizens and denied civil liberties to those living in the northeastern region," it said.

"Continuous acts of violence, including rape and arson, have been perpetrated against innocent citizens since the implementation of this act. Various democratic forces have opposed this draconian act for the past decades," the postcards added.

The postcard carries pictures of Irom Sharmila, who has been on a fast-unto-death for 10 years for the repeal of the act in the state.

Sharmila, 38, was re-arrested earlier March 10 by police on charges of attempted suicide, soon after her release from judicial custody. She was sent to a prison hospital and put on a nasal drip.

The postcard appeal has also urged the president to hold political talks with separatists' outfits without any pre-condition.

The AFSPA provides unlimited powers to security forces to shoot at sight and arrest anybody without a warrant, and is a sensitive issue in Manipur.