Activists to fast in Imphal to support Irom Sharmila

Activists to fast in Imphal to support Irom Sharmila

September 12, 2007 16:23 IST

Many people will be fasting in Imphal, Manipur from September 13 while hundreds from different countries in the world have signed the petition to fast for varying number of days (one to five) to support the 'Iron lady' from Manipur -- Irom Sharmila.

Irom Chanu Sharmila, who has been fasting for the last seven years, and government has been forcibly keeping her mostly in hospital confinement, has a clear demand: repeal the amended 1972 Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

Not only in Manipur, but even in Dhaka, Bangladesh, civil society has been mobilised by Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum to organise a symbolic demonstration to support her demands.

The abuse of AFSPA is currently spawning grave human rights violations in some parts of India, say activists. Under the powers of AFSPA, on November 2, 2000, the Indian military opened fire on citizens in Manipur. Since then, Irom Sharmila has refused to eat and drink anything in resistance to indiscriminate use of the AFSPA against civilians.

"I am very encouraged to see how a single woman has been able to withstand a fast for seven years. It only shows how deeply she has been affected by the brutality of our armed forces and her extraordinary determination to fight for justice. As for our authorities, I hope they will soon see the light and recognise the sincere demands of this one person who fights on behalf of thousands of victims of the brutality of our armed forces" said Xavier Sanjivi.

"This fast is to support one of the longest solitary peaceful struggles of our times which saddens our hearts but doesn't move the authorities a bit. We are confident that the truth will emerge victorious one day," remarked Magsaysay Awardee Dr Sandeep Pandey before boarding the train to Manipur.

Dr Pandey, who is the convener of India's largest network of people's movements - the National Alliance of People's Movements will be sitting on a five-day fast along with other activists outside Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital in Imphal from September 13.