By TCN News,
New Delhi: A day long fast was organized here at Jantar Mantar on the call of Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign, Association of Protection of Civil Rights, Lok Raj Sangathan and Students Islamic Organisation of India to support Irom Sharmila and to demand repeal of AFSPA. Many people participated and observed the hunger strike.
It was also informed by supporters in Mumbai, Panipat, Lucknow and even from South Korea that some people observed token fast at their workplace and home, to express solidarity with Irom Sharmila.
March 14 is birth anniversary of Irom Sharmila. She was born on 14th March 1972 and now after 42 years, she inspired so many people across the world through her non-violent struggle that she started 15 years ago at the age of 28. She is on hunger strike and her fast has become longest hunger strike. She motivates each one of us through her faith in democracy. Organisers said, “ On this day, this is the least that we can do for expressing our solidarity.”
Organisers also submitted memorandum to Prime Minister of India stating the demand to repeal AFSPA and immediate release of Irom Sharmila, quashing charges of section 309 from her from cases lodged in Manipur and Delhi. Memorandum also states the BJP state leadership promise of repealing AFSPA that was done before parliamentary elections.
“We all believe that democracy must listen to the voice of people and must not ignore such demands that are largely towards the objective of better governance and more humane society. We also hope that more and more people will also come in support of the demand and we will raise our demand more strongly and loudly with our peaceful campaigning and advocacy,” a joint statement said.
Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) provides extraordinary powers to security forces without any accountability. They can shoot to kill on mere suspicion and even no inquiry or prosecution can be done due to impunity granted in the act. Many cases have been reported, but nothing could be done. It is like ‘Emergency’ situation at all time and making this abnormal environment as normal for people living in AFSPA imposed regions, who in turn facing serious problems of human rights violations as well as effect on their psychology and behaviour.
Ravi Nitesh from Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign said, “The vicious cycle of arrest of Irom Sharmila is shameful and undemocratic. Instead of focusing on her demand, her issue, the Government is only responding by arresting her. It is shameful that in these 15 years, the “concerned” Govt. of both state and centre have not made a single attempt to open talks with her.” “The Govt. must also know that by arresting her, they cannot suppress her thoughts, her ideology.”
Lenin Raghuvanshi from PVCHR (Varanasi) said that it is unfortunate to see that how even after 15 years, government has done almost nothing, but we are hopeful in democracy and believe that our struggle will be listened one day.
Social activist Navaid Hamid (Secretary, Peoples Integration Council) also participated and expressed his solidarity for Irom Sharmila. He said that we need to become louder and need to do as much as we can to raise the voice.
SSSC, APCR, LRS, SIO believes that AFSPA must be repealed as an immediate measure. “It should be noted that even government’s own committees have recommended the measures to do the same. The continuous violation must need to stop. Also, Government must come forward to express its ‘willing’ attitude of resolving the problem rather than ignoring the peaceful and non-violent struggle of Irom Sharmila,” the joint statement said.