IMPHAL, October 19: A group of human right activists and their supporters from across the country, who were on a journey – Jan Karwan – a march from Srinagar to Imphal, demanding the revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958, were attacked in the national capital today by supporters of a right wing organization ‘Aam Hidustani’ while taking out a rally after their arrival into the capital city.
According to a source from Delhi, around 24 human rights activists from different states including Sharmila’s brother Irom Singhajit in continuation of their ten day long march arrived at New Delhi around 10:30 am today.
There the team was received by the Save Democracy Repeal AFSPA group, New Delhi this afternoon.
The team along with the group later took out a procession but was attacked by alleged activists of the ‘Aam Hindustani’ near the University of Delhi, Arts faculty gate with stones, tomatoes, inks etc.
The activists during their indiscriminate attack shouted slogans like “Long live AFSPA”, “Long live Indian Army”, “Vademataram”, claimed Soram Rojesh, co-ordinator Save Democracy Repeal AFSPA, Group.
Around five rallyist including a female students were inflicted with injuries during the attack, he said.
He further alleged the police for being bias while discharging their duty.
“The police was literally looking at the individuals being attacked without taking any preventive actions, instead of arresting the group who attacked the procession, the people who were taking part in the peaceful procession were arrested, including ten delegates of the Jan Karwan”. Around 100 people were detained and arrested and taken to the police station for questioning, further maintained Rojesh.
“We strongly condemned the act of the police as well as the right wing group” said Rojesh. He claimed that the incident was an attempt to suppress the campaign against AFSPA and said “we will continue with our campaign and confront anything that comes in our way and nobody can stop us”.
The campaigners do not aspire to create any dichotomy but in fact remove the fear and help restore the confidence of the common people in the governance and protective forces in the state, a statement of the group said.
Today`s incident marked by the strong opposition from the “Aam Hindustani` group comes up as a sign of worry as these individuals are not aware of the ill-effects of the law and neither the oppression and atrocities people in the N-E face, it said adding the attitude rather than dampening our spirit actually strengthened it, giving the group much more enthusiasm and zeal to take the issue forward by uniting the common masses and increasing awareness on the law and the humaneness and accountability which needs to be incorporated into it.
Talking to IFP from Delhi, Irom Singhajit, brother of Irom Sharmila who has been staging a fast unto death protest demanding repeal of the act for the past 11 years, termed today’s attack as a challenge and disregard to the democratic set-up of the country.
While strongly condemning the act he asserted “The attack took place in the national capital and this is an indication that the attackers does not have any respect for democracy”.
The march was flagged off from Srinagar on October 16 and is led by team Anna member Medha Patkar and human rights activist and Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey. The march will conclude at Imphal on October 27 after campaigning for the issue in ten different states of the country.