IMPHAL Sept 5: Just Peace Foundation (JPF) has strongly condemned the news report on Irom Sharmila’s personal life carried by The Telegraph in today’s edition stating that she has been highlighted in a wrong manner.
A press meet held at Hotel Nirmala today by members of the foundation voiced their dissent to the news report.
A statement by the foundation to reporters at the meet mentioned that JPF is glad that Sharmila has finally made the headline of a national newspaper. However, it was done in a manner which would rather drive a wedge between her and her supporters instead of highlighting the cause she has endured for over a decade.
JPF feels apprehensive and is shocked to learn that The Telegraph paper report which came out with the story of Sharmila’s personal life as a main headline rather than her struggle against the AFSPA, 1958 is an untimely report and the media especially the national ones should be more sensitive in covering these issues, it said.
The statement said that extraordinary restrictions have been placed for people wanting to meet her, including her family members, while free access has been given to selected media persons from national newspapers. The state government is keeping her in solitary confinement and selective media group’s takes undue advantage of her mental state created by her isolation. It is also known that there is a long line of visitors who have been denied, or else inordinately delayed in getting an appointment with her despite formal official applications in the specified procedure.
However, JPF appreciates Sharmila’s personal choice, and private aspirations. The foundation strongly supports the arduous struggle of Irom Sharmila against the military law (AFSPA) and has nothing to say regarding her personal life. JPF appeals to the public not to confuse her personal life and struggle which has encompassed more than a decade. It said that the mainstream media often downplays and malign the movement. The national media is conspicuous by its silence on matters of supporting and empowering the democratic movement of Irom Shamila. Instead major mainstream media seem to be more interested in diluting the struggle even as a wave of democratization movement is sweeping India, it said.
Human right activist Babloo Loitongbam added that a recent media report done by NDTV misquoted her in her statement about Anna Hazare. “ Due to the botched media report, the activists behind Anna have somewhat viewed Sharmila in a different light, now the Telegraph report makes one assume that she is being held in captivity by her own supporters and not by the police. One can’t help but feels that such reports have been done to confuse the masses and create dissent to her struggle”, he said.
Just Peace Foundation (JPF) is deeply grateful to the Naga, Assamese and other north eastern citizens for rendering their solidarity towards Irom Sharmila’s iconic struggle to garner peace and democracy in the conflict regions of North East.