Abhay Deol launches book on Irom Sharmila, promises support

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MUMBAI, March 9 (agencies): Popular  Bollywood actor  and a supporter of Irom Sharmila, Abhay Deol released a new book `Iron Irom: Two Journeys  jointly authored by documentary film maker and writer Minnie Vaid and poet-activist Irom Sharmila, at Kitab Khana in Mumbai on March 8.

Abhay promised to continue  his support, talking about Irom Sharmila and creating awareness about her among his fraternity.

The author Minnie Vaid emphasized that respect and admiration for Sharmila has to go hand in hand with support for her cause to repeal AFSPA. She also asked more people to join in Sharmila`s struggle so that the anti-AFSPA movement can be more broad-based and known to the public at large.

The book, providing a back-ground for Sharmila`s 1,000 word poem `Birth`, is a personal, first-hand introduction of  life in Manipur, the intricacies of AFSPA and related human rights violations, and contains interviews with various people close to Sharmila including her family and ends with a brief interview of Sharmila at the Magistrate`s court in Imphal.

During the  hour-long book reading and discussion that followed the release of the book, writers and journalists like Jerry Pinto, Kalpana Sharma and Dilnaz Boga talked of the need to keep Sharmila alive in public consciousness, in the media and in the minds and hearts of people.

Jerry Pinto  urged people to put themselves in the shoes of the ordinary Manipuri who gets mocked, frisked, threatened, beaten-up, tortured, molested, raped and even killed in the name of AFSPA.

Kalpana Sharma asked people to step out of their comfort zones and go down to Manipur to see what it is like to live there. She also requested Abhay Deol to visit Manipur.

Designer Nitesh Mohanty also organized an art exhibition of post-cards for Irom Sharmila, an initiative whereby artists across the country sent in contributions exhibiting Sharmila`s 12 year struggle and AFSPA related atrocities. A bunch of 25 evocative postcards was presented to the author to be given to Sharmila in Imphal.

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