IMPHAL Nov 5: â€œWe are informed that Sonia Gandhi is coming .She should meet Sharmila first of all, instead of inaugurating some developmental works in the state. The issue that needs to be addressed primarily is Sharmilaâ€™s fast to repeal AFSPA , the state government and the centre appears insensitive to the case still.â€ stated feminist historian and retired professor Uma Chakravarti in a press conference held at Manipur Press Club today.
She further announced that the Festival of Hope, Justice and Peace will be taken up another notch at the national level and similar activities will be carried out in the rest of the nation ,beginning from Nov 6 and will continue for another four days Voicing outrage that the activist along with Sharmilaâ€™s family members have not been allowed to meet Sharmila ,she stated that the act of the state government is a gross violation of the rule of law and denial of her right to liberty.
Babu Mathew, former director Action Aid said Sharmilaâ€™s protest is under the framework of Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. Expressing that Sharmilaâ€™s protest is democratic from every angle, he added that the Indian government has totally violated the Fundamental rights of an individual by curtailing her independence. Comparing the Manipuri State government to the Myanmar junta, he has further questioned the Indian government and its methods in dealing with the democratically right protest movement of Sharmila.
Appending to what Uma Chakravarti had said in her speech, he has appealed to the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi who is reportedly going to reach the state on November 12 to visit Sharmila and to put a check on the various violations of Human rights by various state actors in the state.Briefing media persons at the conference, similar statements could be had from noted human rights activists K.S. Subramanian, Yambem Laba, Babu Matthew and Vrinda Grover.
Retired IPS Subramanian on similar notes stated that the AFSPA is a â€œlawless lawâ€ and a symbol of discrimination. The inability of the state to repeal the draconian act is crisis in governance. â€œWe all need to make a collective attempt to save Sharmilaâ€™s life. Sonia Gandhi should also be pressed to repeal AFSPA and to save Sharmilaâ€, he saidThe conference arrived post refusal of the state home department to issue a visiting order to prominent human rights activists who had requested for a meeting with Sharmila at 7am today.
Meanwhile a bike rally and a Tapta mega concert scheduled for today, organized by the organizers of the Festival of Hope, Justice and Peace has been reportedly denied permission by the State deputy general of police, according to a reliable source.