Irom Sharmila campaign meets HR panel

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Manipur, IMPHAL, Aug 3: Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign volunteers met the National Human Rights Commission Chairperson KG Balakrishnan on July 31.

A statement of the SSC said that as part of its course to gather support for Irom Sharmila, the SSSC had decided to appeal to National Human Rights Commission, NHRC to send a delegation to meet her, take up her cause and issue an order to the Government.

It continued that between July 10-20 about a thousand letters were sent through post and email to NHRC and to conclude it on July 31, a delegation of five volunteers met the Chairperson and submitted the memorandum personally to him.

The NHRC Chairman, KG Balakrishnan, had acknowledged that NHRC has received many letters regarding this issue. However, he said that “NHRC can’t do much as Irom Sharmila is demanding a repeal and this is a Government policy.”

But then the delegation talked about the need for a negotiation and the unacceptable approach of the Government, it said. Pawan Shrivastava argued that “in the World’s largest democracy, a voice, as determined as that of Irom Sharmila, should not be ignored”, the statement quoted.

Rahul Ranjan added that “the fact that Irom Sharmila has been on a hunger strike for 11 years shows her faith in democracy”.

The statement further said, Amitesh Prasoon argued that “When the voice of a person sitting on a hunger strike for 11 days can be heard, then why not of a person sitting on a hunger strike for 11 years. Why is there so much discrimination?”

Puneet Pushkar, a student of Dyal Singh College, pointed out that “even if we cannot repeal AFSPA, we can reform it. The law has been misused due to the clause that the army officers guilty of crime cannot be penalized”, it further quoted.

Further according to the statement, Devika Mittal, a student of South Asian University, said, “The Government has not only suppressed her voice but also has charged her with a false crime of committing suicide. Suicide is a very individualistic, “selfish” crime. But she is not even a direct victim of AFSPA, she is raising her voice for her people. The charge of “suicide” is a disgrace to her sacrifice.”

The delegation had requested NHRC to send a delegation to Manipur to meet Irom Sharmila and to issue an order to the Government. NHRC responded by promising that they will do whatever they can. When asked about the earlier team of SSSC volunteers that had met NHRC with the similar demands, NHRC did not respond, the statement added.

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