IMPHAL, October 15: While endorsing the 11-year-old struggle of Irom Sharmila, Guwahati-based People’s Forum for Development will launch a signature campaign against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Assam from November 2 onwards and observe the day as “Sharmila Day”.
Addressing media persons today at the Human Rights Alert office, chairman of PFD, Dr Dilip Bora stated that human rights champion Sharmila has been kept in isolation for many years and visitors are not allowed to meet her freely.
It takes a long procedure to seek permission from the state government for visiting her, he noted.
A team of four members of the organization led by Dr Bora has been camping here for the last three days seeking permission to meet Sharmila.
“On November 2, PFD will organize a sit-in-demonstration to show solidarity to the ‘iron lady’ across Assam and a 24-hour hunger strike will also be observed on that day in support of her struggle”, he further informed.
The issue raised by Irom Sharmila is much greater than that of Anna Hazare. AFSPA is to do with gross violation of human rights in Kashmir and Northeastern states, Dilip asserted.
There has been gross violation of human rights in the whole Northeastern region under the shadow of AFSPA and the campaign would focus on Sharmila’s struggle for the repeal of AFSPA.
The PFD along with All India Secular Front and ANHAM will also launch signature campaign to support Irom Sharmila all over the world, he added.
He further said that with the help of the two organizations, around 60 other civil organizations from all over the country would be asked to extend their support which in turn would launch signatures campaign for the same cause.
More than 50,000 people are expected to join the campaign in Assam and the signatures collected along with a petition will be sent to the Prime Minister and President of India, Dilip stated.
He also appealed to all human rights defenders to take active part in the signature campaign against AFSPA.
The PFD team which has come to visit Sharmila comprises of chairman Dilip Bora, vice-president Ravi Ram Bora, member Sharat Kalita and member Vivek Das.
PFD was established with a common aim to fight against ‘black laws’ and ‘anti-democratic laws.’ Its aim is also to unite the Northeast people together, he asserted.
He also promised that his organization will keep on supporting the Sharmila’s campaign from this moment though it is too late.