Posts Tagged ‘Irom Sharmila’

Irom Sharmila say's Anna campaign "somewhat artificial"

In News links on September 2, 2011 at 6:12 pm

The Hindu

Imphal, September 1, 2011

Anna campaign “somewhat artificial”: Irom Sharmila


People’s Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL) members protesting at Town Hall, demanding repeal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the release of activist Irom Sharmila, in Bangalore on May 22, 2011. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Irom Sharmila, who has been on fast close to 11 years to demand the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Manipur, feels Anna Hazare’s campaign against corruption is “somewhat artificial.”

Called the ‘Iron lady of Manipur’, 37-year-old Sharmila also urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to treat her like Hazare, who on Sunday ended his 12-day fast against corruption that shook the nation.

“It’s (Anna Hazare’s movement) somewhat artificial, how can we eradicate corruption? In my case I am a simple woman who wants to reform society. I have no idea about social activists or social workers,” she told TV channels today.

Sharmila however said she revered the 74-year-old crusader against corruption.

She also voiced her disappointment at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not keeping his promise of amending the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

“I don’t like his (the Prime Minister’s) leadership. When he couldn’t keep his promise, it is a shame”. Singh had made the promise in 2004 when he was on a visit to Imphal.

“I would like to request that please sir look at me like Anna Hazare, people of this whole nation just like in God’s eyes are equal. So without discrimination treat me,” she said, adding “I would just like to request him(prime minister) …change your mindset.”

Sharmila claimed that the Union government and its observers feel that north east people are inefficient and that they are not like mainland. “They don’t like to treat us like Anna,” she added.



The Other Half – Another India, another protest
by Kalpana Sharma


Irom Sharmila writes back to Anna, seeks help for her freedom

In Interview on August 24, 2011 at 12:38 pm

From: Tehelka

Posted on 22 August 2011

Irom Sharmila writes back to Anna, seeks help for her freedom

Only then can she join him in his “amazing crusade to root out corruption”

Kunal Majumder
New Delhi

Manipuri activist Irom Sharmila has requested Anna Hazare to speak to the concerned authorities for her freedom so that she could join him in his “amazing crusade to root out corruption which is the root of all evils”. Yesterday, close aides of Sharmila had ruled out an unconditional support and spoken about the need for reciprocity from Team Anna towards her cause. She has been demanding a repeal of Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) from North East and has been on fast since last ten years.

In a written reply to Anna, 38-year-old Sharmila welcomed his invitation, but said that she is unable to exercise her right to protest as an Indian citizen. She has been under house arrest at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College in Imphal since she began her fast. She also invited Anna to Manipur, a state she describes as “most corrupt affected region in the world”.

Many observers doubt if Anna, a former soldier, would support her cause which is against an act that ensures protection of armed forces from civilian litigations. Her own aides accept that though the method of protest in both cases is Gandhian, the causes are entirely different. For Team Anna to get Sharmila on board would mean a wider acceptance of his movement.

Perhaps if Anna’s protest had been here in Manipur, the response would not have been so vigorous: Irom Sharmila

As thousands back Anna Hazare’s protest against the Jan Lokpal Bill draft, the theatre of action remains the national Capital. In the periphery of this vast country, another Gandhian has been on fast for 10 years. Irom Sharmila continues her fast to compel the Centre to withdraw Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). In this exclusive interview to Ratnadip Choudhury, she speaks her heart out on how the protest against AFSPA needs the support of the entire nation.

Irom Sharmila

Anna Hazare, another believer in non-violence is fasting as a means of protest…
I have heard of Anna Hazare’s protest. Non-violence, taught to us by the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, is the only means to achieve solutions. It is really good that the nation has woken up to corruption and the protest is centred at New Delhi so the lawmakers will be able to understand the intensity. We also once tried to take our fight to New Delhi by staging protests at Jantar Mantar but we did not get support from the rest of the nation, perhaps because AFSPA only affects the Northeast and Jammu & Kashmir. But the country should take it as an issue concerning the nation. We are protesting here at Imphal and New Delhi is far—perhaps if Anna’s protest had been here in Manipur, the response would not have been so vigorous. The Centre has never tried to lend an ear to our cause, the national media barring a few has not been sensitive to Northeast, and this is a symbolic example of discrimination.

You have been on hunger strike for 10 years. What inspires you to carry on?
My crusade is to awaken the slumbering minds of our society. My own conscience is the sole infallible inspiration to carry on this lone fight. And there is the constant support of the people.

The Guwahati High Court has asked the Manipur government to act upon the probe report on the 2004 rape and murder of Thangjam Manorama Devi. Do you feel justice will be delivered?
In my lifetime, I have never seen the punishing of any criminal who commit horrendous acts like the brutal killing of Manorama and Luningla Elizabeth after gangrapes or of the SDO Kishen by our concerned administrators. There is no justice in Manipur. And yet I am positive.

Now a nationwide campaign has been launched in your support. How do you see this development?
The support for my cause is a symbol of God’s vigilance for a human being’s spiritual fight for justice to mankind. If you believe in the creator of the universe with devotion, please go against the prejudicial perception of others as inferior or superior in accordance with their caste, colour, appearance or language. Discrimination is the main factor of growing insurgency.

Fake encounters and fake surrenders continue unabated in Manipur. In the recent past, TEHELKA has unearthed many such stories. Where lies the problem?
The anti-terrorism drive is emboldened by the black law AFSPA. Our legislators embolden it via bribery. The draconian law has given them licence to kill at will.

In Manipur there is a tendency to put the blame squarely on security forces for any conflict. What about the accountability of the administration and legislators?
During to their incorrigible conduct, security forces well deserve the blame for any conflict in Manipur. But in truth, our social conflicts stem from corruption which is the root cause of all evil deeds. Not only politicians but each and every department’s top officials take bribes from each and every job-seeking applicant, excluding dear ones and close relatives.

With elections round the corner in Manipur, do you think the AFSPA issue will unnerve politicians?
A poverty-stricken society like the Manipuris would easily be persuaded as usual by seasoned, brazen politicians who have been doling out dirty money for securing votes long before the election comes. The AFSPA issue will be effective only when voters wake to self-realisation, to make a difference in our society. But that’s a long way off.

Ratnadip Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent with Tehelka.

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