IMPHAL, Sept 11 – Irom Chanu Sharmila, the ‘Iron Lady of Manipur’ has been conferred the Rabindranath Tagore Peace Prize by the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM), New Delhi to honour her courageous and determined struggle for peace in Manipur.
IIPM’s founder director and the chairman of the award selection committee, Dr Malay Chaudhuri along with the institute’s Registrar Ratna Chaudhuri personally visited Sharmila on Saturday last here to confer upon her the prestigious award which includes a sum of Rs 51 lakh along with a gold medal and a citation.
The Rabindranath Tagore Memorial Prize which was instituted as an international award, in memory of Rabindranath Tagore on the occasion of the poet’s 150th birth anniversary in 2011.
The award which was funded by a consortium of institutes and universities in Asia and Europe, is being conferred on individuals and groups who have made significant contributions in the areas of people’s economics, people-centric management, literature and peace.
Speaking to media, Malay Chaudhuri said: “Sharmila is one of the unique ladies of the country. We’re conferring the award for her determination and courage in her peaceful struggle.”
When asked, Sharmila’s brother Irom Singhajit who was also present during the handing over of the award, said: “The award money would be utilized in conducting programmes relating to her ongoing campaign.”
Singhajit is the managing trustee of Just Peace Foundation, a rights group supporting Sharmila’s cause that has been organizing a 100-day countdown to the completion of a decade-long fast by Irom Sharmila with a call for a united struggle against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958. Poster campaigns, street corner meetings, symposiums, kavi sammelan and human chains were some of the activities of the countdown, he added.
Sharmila who started her strike after the Assam Rifles killed 10 civilians at Malom near Imphal airport on November 2, 2000, will complete 10 years of her fast against the “draconian law”, on November 1 next.