TODAY -
Sharmila's grit brings people together
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, November 05 2010: Irom Chanu Sharmila, the Iron Lady of Manipur, today completed 10 years of fasting demanding the total repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 from Manipur.

To commemorate the occasion, Sharmila Kanba Lup (Save Sharmila Group) organised a mass public rally here today.

After the meeting a public meeting was held at Bheigyachandra Open Air Threatre (BOAT), Palace Compound.

The meeting resolved to ensure the success of Sharmila's struggle along with relentless public support and the solidarity of the International community.

Furthermore, the meeting resolved that the Government of India and Manipur should allow Special Rapporteur of Human Rights, United Nations Miss Margaret Sagakiya, who is scheduled to visit India in January, to meet Sharmila and there should be no restriction on any National and International human rights defenders from coming to meet Sharmila.



Rally staged to show solidarity to Sharmila


The meeting also demanded the Government of India and Manipur to recognise the rationale behind the public demand for repealing Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 and regard Sharmila as a political prisoner.

Prior to the public meeting, a mass rally was taken out from Porompat PDA complex, where Sharmila Kanba Lup has been organising protest demonstration for the last many months and proceeded upto BOAT.

Presided jointly by convenors of Sharmila Kanba Lup AK Janaki Leima and Keisham Taruni, chairman of Manipur Peace Centre Aribam Jiteshwar Sharma, editor of Aja daily Valley Rose, Henary Tiphange of Tamil Nadu-based Peoples' Right Watch, V Subramaniam of the Delhi-based organisation Saheli, executive director of Human Rights Alert Babloo Loitongbam were among other speakers who were present on the dais.

Addressing the meeting, V Subramaniam asserted that imposition of an archaic and draconian Act like Armed Forces Special Powers Act over the entire State of Manipur is unreasonable.

So, the Government of India and Manipur should respect the public demand as well as the 10 years old struggle of Sharmila and repeal this Act at once.

It is a shame that India Government which believes on the principle of democracy and non-violence has not recognised the legitimate struggle of Sharmila, Subramaniam said.

T Sana Leima of Sharmila Kanba Lup described Sharmila as a young woman, who despite being a maiden, possesses the rare quality of a mother that cannot see her children being suffered.

The struggle of Sharmila is for the people of Manipur.

So the people should support without any reservation, she exhorted, and added that on its part Sharmila Kanba Lup has been organising relay hunger strike, street corner meeting, public meeting, poster campaign, etc over the demand for saving the life of Sharmila and withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

Henary Tiphange of the Tamil Nadubased Peoples Right Watch said that even though the 5-day long Festival of Peace and Justice organised to commemorate completion of 10 years of fasting by Sharmila has concluded, the campaign in support of Sharmila would continue in other parts of the country and abroad.

He lamented that Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is yet to keep his promise of replacing Armed Forces Special Powers Act with a more humane Act and the Chief Minister of Manipur has been denying people coming from other parts to meet Sharmila.

It is sad that permission are being denied to meet Sharmila despite that fact that Sharmila is not a terrorist and even a convict waiting for execution is granted permission for meeting, he pointed.

Further, he observed that it would be better for the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi not to come to Manipur if she is not going to meet Sharmila during her proposed visit to Imphal.


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