By Okram Pinky
BANGALORE,September 25: A sit and protest supporting Irom Sharmila took place at Cubbon Park, Bangalore, from 1pm to 5 pm, today. The sit and protest was preceded by a peace procession along the M.G road, Brigade road, Cubbon Park and Chinnaswamy stadium, Bangalore. This sit and protest was participated by Manipuris and other north east people of India. With the help of security personnel, Bangalore, the sit in protest and the peace procession turned into a successful procession. Local media channels specially T.V 9 and Janasri supported this protest.
India claims to be the world largest democracy. But the question here is, in what context democracy is defined? What is this sacrosanct word “democracy” meant? Modern society is abided by the democratic values of liberty and equality. Infused with such democratic principles, India adopted democratic republic in 1950. Parts of country are fighting against India’s self inflicted demon. There are economic inequalities, socio-political exclusion, and decades of militarization in certain territories. Such lingering issues allow to question and scrutinize the nature of India’s democracy critically.
The Armed Forces Special Power Act has been operated in the North east India, especially in the state of Manipur since from more than five decades. Under this Act, several forms of human rights violations have been witnessed over the years. Arrested without giving warrant, or arrested if suspicious, or killing innocent people become very common in the state of Manipur.
Regarding all the human rights violation, today the sit and protest supporting Irom Sharmila took place. The protesters carried play cards with different demands. A few of the demands are we support Sharmila, release Sharmila from custody, dilute the power of AFSPA, and save democracy etc.
The main objective of today’s protest was demanding right to live, remove AFSPA says Athenthem Peter Singh. Anna Hazare fasted only for a few days but Irom Sharmilla has been fasting for 11 years. Yes the demands are different. Anna fights for corruption and Sharmilla fights to remove AFSPA, one is for whole country and one is for a state, but both the ways of fighting are for the betterment of a state or a country. Media has highlighted Anna to a great extend but national channels have never done the same for Sharmila. Ahanthem Peter says right to live comes before corruption. Military armies are assigned to take care and protect the people of the state, not to take their lives. “We are not asking to protect or preserve the underground people of the state, we are asking to give us the right to live” continued Ahanthem Peter Singh.
The protesters were fully against the publication of Irom Sharmila in the recent “Telegraph”. They said that, it was just made an issue to meet the propaganda of politics and media. “If we count the number of UG personnel in the state of Manipur, it’s too less comparing to the number of military armies in the state then why these armies are not able to control them, this only shows that the system itself has a defect”, they continued. It is only made to meet the government’s agenda.
The Armed Forces Special Power Act has been declared as “an act which does not allow, right to live”. This declaration was made by BB Jiwan Reddy, formal lieutenant general, supported by journalist from different areas. But Indian government never tried to discuss about the declaration. The protester appealed to Indian government, to discuss about the act again.
At last the protester revealed that, the sit and protest is being organized to wake up the people of Manipur staying at different states. It’s high time that people should open their eyes and should be able to take immediate action. They said Manipur is a state of India and we are Indians, Indian government cannot ignore us or cannot ignore our demands. In one voice they said “We support Sharmila”.