One day ‘solidarity fast’ by Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign at Delhi on Nov 6

By TCN News,

New Delhi: Coinciding with the 15th year of the heroic struggle by Irom Sharmila Chanu against the AFSPA, the Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign (SSSC) has organized a one-day solidarity fast and gathering in support of Irom Sharmila at Jantar Mantar here on Thursday, November 6.

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The Campaign has also demanded immediate steps to be taken to repeal Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 (AFSPA) from Manipur not just on the basis of ‘Justice’ and ‘Humanity’ but also on the basis of ‘promise’ by the BJP ahead of Lok Sabha polls. It should also be repealed from other regions of the North East India and from the state of Jammu & Kashmir too, the Campaign said.

Irom Sharmila, popular as the Iron Lady of Manipur, has entered the 15th year of her hunger strike against Army’s high handedness through the use of AFSPA. “She is hopeful that someday the government will listen to her, she is a true democrat yet her democratic way of protest is being ignored in the world’s largest democracy,” SSSC said here in a release.

Irom Sharmila is neither a social activist nor a direct victim of the law yet she has been on the hunger strike for last 14 years. For over three years, SSSC has been organising nation-wide protest against the neglect and suppression of Irom Sharmila and has been organising public demonstrations, awareness programmes in colleges, signature campaigns in about 20 states and nation-wide rallies to spread the word about her and her struggle, the SSSC release said.

Stating that there has been gross violation of human rights in the areas under AFSPA, SSSC claimed, “With arbitrary powers and legal impunity granted to the armed forces, AFSPA has led to extra-judicial killings, fake encounters, rapes and torture of civilians.”

Ravi Nitesh, Devika Mittal and Pankaj Pathak from the Campaign sought to remind the BJP led government to “fulfill its promise of restoring humanity in Manipur” as during the Lok Sabha elections in Manipur, the party’s state unit had declared that the “undemocratic and arbitrary law AFSPA will be repealed if the party is voted to power.”

“Now that you are bestowed with the trust of people to restore humanity, we appeal to keep your word and take the humane decision to repeal AFSPA,” the activists said.

The SSSC demanded immediate steps to repeal AFSPA from Manipur “on the basis of promise of BJP that is presently in the government but more than that on the basis of Justice and Humanity” and also from other regions of North East India where it is applicable and Jammu & Kashmir.

The campaigners are also demanding that charges of ‘attempt to commit suicide’ slapped on Sharmila must be taken back and she be set free. Two other demands are about setting up of a Parliamentary Panel immediately to start talk with Irom Sharmila and to study human rights violations in AFSPA imposed areas and implementing the recommendation of Justice Verma committee regarding the sexual violence cases under the AFSPA.

“With these demands, we at SSSC will submit letters to Members of Parliament to raise the issue within their party as well as before the government. We are also organising one day solidarity fast at Jantar Mantar from 11 am tomorrow,” the release said.