IMPHAL, Nov 6 – Human rights activists and eminent personalities from across the nation are participating in a week-long observation of the completion of 10 years of Sharmila’s fasting.While slamming the government for barring them from meeting Irom Sharmila, rights activists have announced that they will launch a countrywide campaign against the draconian AFSPA, 1958 in solidarity with Sharmila’s struggle.
Joya Mitra, a human rights activist from West Bengal, who came here to attend a seminar held in honour of Sharmila, said, Sharmila’s non-violent struggle has grabbed national and international recognition. Her quest is simply pointing out the wrongs being committed by the State under the purview of a constitutionally sanctioned Act and her unparalleled mission should be considered at the highest level, she observed.
The issue of AFSPA has come to national attention with large scale protests in Kashmir along with sporadic uprisings in Manipur from time to time. Many eminent personalities are of the opinion that the Act, an unwanted legacy of the British era used to curb the Indian Nationalist Movement, is somehow retained till today.
According to rights groups, the Act itself is like a sort of license for the armed forces to carry out their agenda as per their whims with no interference from government authorities.
Yambem Laba, former Member, Manipur Human Rights Commission said that Sharmila is a true Gandhian. Ignoring her non violent movement would amount to going against the Gandhian ideology itself and against the constitutional enshrined basic fundamental rights in a democratic country.
Ironically, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh himself had assured the people few years back to replace the AFSPA with a more ‘humane Act’ but things are yet to materialise.