IMPHAL, October 2: The Hyderabad Manipuri Society in association with the National Alliance of People’s Movement, Andhra Pradesh Chapter has launched a campaign today at 3pm at the Ambedkar Statue, Tank Bund, Hyderabad as part of the nationwide “Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign” involving many organizations and people’s movements that is being launched across India at same time and date.
In an emailed statement, the Manipuri society has stated that “We are the world’s largest ‘democracy’. Though the reality of this ‘democratic’ nation is very different, but it is still the preferred system of governance as people still have the right to voice their opinion, to speak out, to protest. But sadly even this aspect is restricted only to the ‘mainland India’”.
“In Manipur, a poet and an activist, Irom Chanu Sharmila has been on a hunger strike for 11 years now. Her hunger strike protest has become the longest in the world. She has been protesting against the draconian law of AFSPA (Armed Special Forces Power Act) which was enforced in the north-east in 1958. The AFSPA calls for an autocratic and unchecked rule by the army. In the name of ‘protecting the law and order’, anyone can be arrested or shot. It has led to extra-judicial killings, illegal detentions, fake encounters, rapes and torture of the civilian population. According to official records, since 1980, more than 25,000 civilians have been killed”.
It has further stated that the government has reacted to these protests and Irom Sharmila’s heroic struggle by ignoring these pleas and by suppressing the “Iron Lady”.
“She is a common citizen just like every citizen of India…another face in the crowd. Her struggle is not just to liberate Manipur; it is to restore democracy in this country. So whether it is Humanity or Patriotism that calls you, Support Irom and her struggle. Save this democracy”.
The society further demanded from the government to start positive steps of talks with Irom Sharmila and to listen to her demands seriously by sending an all party delegation and members of the NWC/NHRC to investigate cases of human rights violations in the Manipur, it has added.
It has also mentioned that “We believe that non violence should not be ignored and Irom Sharmila has every right to be heard. Government cannot ignore the voice of its citizens”.
The society has further appealed to the people of the country to raise their voice in support of Irom Sharmila.