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'Irom Sharmila's struggle will be remembered for generations'
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, November 05 2011: The cry for justice of Irom Chanu Sharmila has reached all the peace loving people and organizations of the world and so her demand should be surely realized one day, President of Manipuri Sahitya Parishad Prof Nongmaithem Tombi has observed, while speaking at the occasion of Khunai Kanba Numit observance today.

The observance was held under the theme of 'Mareibak Ningbi Sharmila (Patriotic Sharmila)' .

Participating in the observance organized jointly by Khunai Kanba Numit Thousil Lup and Just Peace Foundation at Manipur Press Club as Chief Guest, Prof Tombi noted that Sharmila has come to the forefront of public movement in Manipur at a critical stage when human rights of the people are under threat.

The courage of Sharmila and her unrelenting struggle over the demand for repealing AFSPA would continue to be remembered by the generations to come.

Now that the cry of justice of Sharmila has reached all the peace loving people and organizations of the world, the day would not be far when the demand would be realized, Prof Tombi expressed confidence.

Just as the non-violence movement of Mahatma Gandhi shook the British Empire, the die-hard spirit of Sharmila would surely awaken the conscience of the state and the central government, he added.



Students coming out in solidarity with Sharmila as she completes 11 years of her fast
Students coming out in solidarity with Sharmila as she completes 11 years of her fast


Earlier, delivering the key note of the observance, Rakesh Naorem informed that since childhood Sharmila observes fast on every Thursday and the Malom massacre of November 2, 2000 that made Sharmila to launch her fast unto death stir also took place on Thursday.

Sharmila began her fast on November 5 of the same year with the blessing of her mother.

So, November 5 is being observed every year as Khunai Kanba Numit.

President of KALAM IC Asem, President of NAHAKHOL Thiyam Ongbi Shilleima and Managing Trustee of Just Peace Foundation Kh Anandi were Presidium members of the observance which was also attended by Nilamani Kha-Nganba as Guest of Honour.

At the occasion, a recitation contest on patriotic theme held and the prizes distributed to the winners.

Oinam Mangalleima, Anamika and Sarjulata Soraisham won the first, the second and the third prizes respectively.

Agencies add: Activists say government and politicians have wilfully ignored her for 11 years: Demanding that the government engage in a dialogue with Irom Sharmila who has been on a hunger strike since 11 years demanding repealing of AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act), many civil rights groups, activists and student groups on Friday evening held a protest march at the Marine Drive here as a part of the 'Irom Sharmila Solidarity Campaign' .

"She [Irom Sharmila] is the symbol of non-violence.

You [the government] want to reduce her to a non-entity by not letting people meet her.

No one meets her.

Those who want are not allowed to.

She has grown so frail now, she weighs only 35 kg," Mukta Srivastava of the National Alliance of People's Movement said.

"This is the beginning of the 12th year of her hunger strike.

This is probably the longest continuous hunger strike.

It is a shame on our democracy," Anand Patwardhan, noted documentary-maker, said.

"If we are to be a democratic country, we have to respect the rights of our people.

But if you think they aren't our people, then that is a different issue," he said.

"The government and the politicians have wilfully ignored her for the past 11 years.

If Anna sits on a fast for a few days, a red carpet is rolled out for him.

But the government has ignored her.

It is only the elections that matter to them.

We have to make this movement popular enough to make the government take it seriously," Vasant Shirali, another participant in the campaign and the general secretary of Maharashtra region of the Socialist Party, said.

"We have a few demands.

They are that: the government should talk to her; an all-party delegation should meet her; the NHRC [National Human Rights Commission] should investigate AFSPA-related atrocities; the government should repeal AFSPA," Guddi S.L.of Yuva Biradari said.


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