Assam NGO to observe Nov 2 as `Sharmila Day` and launch signature campaign

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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.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Does any Manipuri wish to say why the illegal ban on visitors imposed ostensibly by an application of the DG Imphal Police (Prisons) in I believe 2005 has never been challenged in the courts. A simple question. I am trying to hire a lawyer Sharmila has tried herself since at least February this year but none of her local supporters including this latest group have tried legal action. But we are not in competition as such. If anyone of the Manipuri or northeastern NGOs or supporters would like to beat us to the punch. Go ahead hire a lawyer and overturn the ban then you won’t have to camp outside anywhere you just apply for a prison visits and if she wants to see you after standard background checks you get a visit. Or is that too simple.

    Second I would press those who believe in democracy to ask Sharmila to stand for election next year so that a poll may be taken and presented to the world. It’s like a signature campaign but is one officially recognized by the State, the National Government and World Governments. Again since the supporters now seem keen on gathering signatures as their main policy well it would grow from their original and brilliant idea all credit to them. And in the case of an election the signatures or cross next to a name with Anti-AF(SP)A clearly visible it would show India what her citizens actually want. It would be an effective signature campaign and this one the supporters are doing could be seen as a dry run. They might even mention that they want Sharmila to stand for elections when gathering signatures. Hustings they call it sometimes. You let people know so the people can decide what they want.

    Third I would ask civil society to cease from burning and banning newspapers but if I have to explain why we can leave that one for now. The question and suggestion above should sound reasonable. But if you suspect anything rum best not to give the idea more publicity by commenting negatively eh lads.

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