Nagas back Sharmila`s anti-AFSPA campaign

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DIMAPUR, Sept 3 (NNN): Prominent Naga leaders have endorsed the movement launched by Irom Sharmila against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958.

Writer Charles Chasie, Neichute Duolo, former vice president of Naga Hoho G. Gaingam, prominent journalist Bano Haralu activist N. Diswang Hau, Hekani Jakhalu, noted Naga thinker Niketu Iralu, Dr. Chingmak Kejong, Pfhelie Kesiezie, Zapuvisie Lhousa, Rev. Kari Longchar, Fr. Dr. Abraham Lotha, Rev. Dr. Mazie Nakhro, Prof. Dr. Paul Pimomo, Samuel Risom, K. Seyie,  P.A. Thekho, Nyamto Wangsha and Kos Zhasa in a joint statement conveys a message,” Irom Sharmila Na Touruba Khongchat Khudingmak Maipakpa Oirasanu,” meaning, “Whatever Irom Sharmila undertakes, let it be a success.”

In a statement made available to Newmai News Network by Niketu Iralu today, it said Irom Sharmila’s unyielding, non-violent fight to get the government of India to consign the Armed Forces Special Powers Act to the dustbin of India’s history of dealing with the North East region has started to catch the attention of the people of India. “The Act cannot stand scrutiny. Responsible Indians should be ashamed of it and the other inhuman measures adopted in the NE region to protect India’s security and interest, that is, of the mainland. The arbitrary powers it authorizes are similar to those in the racist laws that apartheid South Africa employed to brutally suppress Africans and Asians it considered inferior,” it added.

The prominent Naga personalities said Sharmila’s courageous fight against the AFSPA has been sustained throughout especially by the formidable support of the defiant women of the Meira Paibis (women activists). “Nagas have been equally outraged by the Act and for a longer duration. It is not worthy of Mahatma Gandhi’s India. The undersigned Nagas express their appreciation and support for Sharmila’s protest. They believe Nagas widely share the sentiment. The Act was originally promulgated in 1958 to deal with the extraordinary situation arising from the assertion of the Nagas. Therefore, knowing what it means, we express our anguish and solidarity to all the people affected by the Act which is in force today in all the “disturbed areas” of the North East and Jammu & Kashmir,” the statement said.  

“While the fast-unto-death method of protest is questioned by some on grounds it is liable to be misused in some situations as a method of blackmail, we fully support the total rejection of the AFSPA that the unwavering fast has symbolized,” it further said. The forced feeding Sharmila has been subjected to for the past 11 years reveals callous disregard of her life and her dignity as a human being, the prominent Naga personalities rued.  It also shows the extent to which the rulers of mainland India will go to ignore what they regard to be unimportant to mainland India, they pointed out.  “The insulting insensitivity should end without further delay to enable the new thinking needed by both sides to grow. The cause so courageously taken up by Sharmila should be supported by all so that the objective of her fasting will be realized enabling her also to end her fast at the earliest with dignity,” the group of prominent Naga personalities expressed.

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