IMPHAL, Oct 28 – Several human rights activists from across the country were today detained here after they went on a hunger strike condemning the Manipur Government’s decision of not allowing them to meet Irom Sharmila, who has not eaten a morsel of food since 2000 demanding repeal of the AFSPA.
After members of the ‘Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign’ began their protest at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences, they were taken to the nearby Porampat police station for few hours, officials said.
“The government is discriminatory in allowing people to meet her. When even those convicted of serious crimes are allowed to meet visitors, why are we not allowed to meet her,” asked Sharmila’s associate Babloo Loitongbam.
They had unsuccessfully applied for permission from the State Government to meet the 39-year-old human rights defender, who is charged with attempt to commit suicide by fasting for an indefinite period.
By fasting for the past 11 years, Sharmila’s non-violent resistance has become a nucleus for collective protest against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).
Supporters of the anti-AFSPA movement began a 4,500-km-long ‘Jan Karvan’ from Srinagar on October 16 which culminated at the Imphal valley here yesterday.
Flagged off by Medha Patkar and Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey, the movement is backed by a number of civil society groups.
Ningol Chakouba fest: ‘Ningol Chakouba’ festival, invitation of married sisters and daughters to parental house for a grand feast, is being celebrated throughout Manipur.
Women in traditional attire with their children were seen going to their parental house to meet their brothers and father early in the morning.
Official sources said State Fishery department had organised a temporary fish market at Imphal Hapta Kangjeibung to sell fish at cheaper rates yesterday here where thousands of people came to purchase for today’s festival. The government has also declared a holiday today for the festival.
Governor Gurbachan Jagat and Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh in their messages conveyed warm greetings and best wishes to the people. – PTI