IMPHAL, November 10: Irom Chanu Sharmila has today declared that there is no need for making further appeals for the lifting of the AFSPA to the UPA chairman Sonia Gandhi as their has on other occasions made indirect appeals to her but failed to evoke any response from the latter till date. Sharmila was replying to a query by pressmen.
In a contrasting stroke, Sharmila has also donated Rs. 50,000 from her fund of reward money to the ‘Save Narmada’ campaign saying she was moved by a book ‘Plural Narratives from Narmada Valley’, authored by four Narmada activists on the campaign against Narmada dam.
Sharmila further declared the failure of the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi who is a woman herself, to acknowledged and respond to the 10 years long struggle of another woman is an inglorious moment for the women of the country.
Sharmila who was allowed a meeting today with Magasasay winner Sandeep Pandey convener National Alliance of People’s Movement has also rebuked the government for its failure to respect the democratic struggle of a legitimate citizen of the country while stating that she would only be satisfied when the government has completely repealed the draconian Act and not just amended it.
While speaking at the meeting also attended by the media, Sharmila further added that there has been no positive response from the government even though there have been previous instances when she had sent letters to the UPA chairman appealing for the Act to be repealed completely.
She also added that the government’s act of not allowing visitors to meet her and thus preventing her democratic efforts to come to the knowledge of various human rights activists visiting the state is an act of cowardice and a shame to democratic India.
It may be mentioned that the state government had prevented some visiting human rights activists and NGOs from meeting Sharmila during the observation of the completion of 10 year of her epic struggle.
On being asked if she was convinced of achieving her demands now that she is getting mass support from the people, she replied that it was only a matter of time and that she believes that her demands will be met with though she is not sure of the time.
Meanwhile, Sandeep Pandey who met Sharmila for the fourth time has also declared that the Irom Chanu Sharmila represents the longest such struggle and the people’s movement all over the country salutes her especially for choosing the peaceful path.
Declaring as unfortunate the conscience of the Indian state which has failed to be influence by Sharmila’s long sufferings, he further said the Government of India has no right to complain when people take up arms as it has failed to respond to such peaceful form of protest.
He further maintained that India cannot claim itself to be a democracy if it continues to keep Irom Chanu Sharmila under detention while ignoring her demand.
Expre3ssing fear about her health and further identifying her as a prized citizen of democracy, he has also stated that Sharmila deserve better respect and attention.
He also gifted Sharmila with two diaries.
Sharmila on her part donated a sum of Rs 50,000 for the ‘Save Narmada’ campaign.