IMPHAL, October 29: Days after the conclusion of the 12 day nationwide march on ‘Save Sharmila Campaign’, several civil bodies have announced to hold a day long nationwide hunger strike to extend public support to Irom Sharmila’s 11 years long struggle against the controversial Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act,on November 5.
“The demonstration will be held in most of the states in support of 11yrs of hunger strike by Irom Sharmila to repeal AFSPA”, says Seram Rojesh,coordinator of Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign. “We’re appealing everyone who believed in the principle and practice of democracy to join the demonstration.”
The nationwide demonstration was planned as part of the two-month long nationwide signature campaign to support Sharmila’s struggle which was launched on October 2. The signatures will be handed over to President Pratibha Patil on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day on December 10, followed by a peace march in Delhi, from India Gate to Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Kh Anandi of Just Peace Foundation, a Manipur-based body promoting Sharmila’s campaign, also shares a similar sentiment while speaking to media in presence of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom(WILPF) here on Saturday. Sharmila, who has been on a hunger-strike to have the act, which provides unlimited powers to security forces to shoot at sight and arrest anybody without a warrant, repealed, will be completing 11 years of her struggle on November 5.
She launched the indefinite hunger strike after she heard about the killing of ten people by the army in Malom, on the outskirt of Imphal.
Confined to a hospital ward, she is being force-fed through a nasal tube. “We believed that army cannot bring peace. Towards establishing peace and security for women, the army must be recalled, AFSPA must be repealed,” says vice president Ila Pathak of WILPF which has been demanding the centre to initiate a dialogue with Sharmila besides sending an all party delegation to assess the situation in Manipur.
“We’ll be able to bring international opinion on the issue.” On Thursday, a 25 member activist team concluded their 4500 km nationwide march ‘Jan Karwan’ covering ten states for mobilizing public opinion on revoking the AFSPA from Jammu and Kashmir and North-East India.