IMPHAL, March 8: ‘Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign (SSSC)’ , a nation-wide struggle against the neglect and suppression of Irom Sharmila Chanu, a Manipuri poet turned activist who has been on an indefinite hunger-protest for the past 12 years in protest against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Manipur, has said in a press statement that it has started a week long campaign ‘Save Sharmila Week’ from March 8 i.e. International Women`s Day to March 14 which happens to be Irom Sharmila’s birthday.
It has said however that it will not observe the day on March 14 as “Sharmila herself told us not to hold any kind of celebration on her birthday as it may divert the issue”, it said.
“In her recent visit to Delhi, Irom Sharmila again repeated her commitment about democracy, democratic values and non-violence. She openly declared that her struggle is completely nonviolent. We strongly feel that now it is the responsibility of all of us who believe in democratic values and non-violence to come forward and support her”, it said.
“In the wake of all these concerns, we started the week today itself at Chennai in Tamil Nadu”, it said.
“National secretary of Khudai Khidmatgar and SSSC member, Inamul Hasan during the inauguration said that SSSC is a solidarity forum whose chief motto is to make people aware about the struggle”, it said.
He further said that in her recent visit to Delhi, Irom once again assured the nation that her fight is for establishing the democracy and restoring the peace only, it said.
“We have strong feelings for Irom Sharmila and her struggle because she is a true lover of democracy and a responsible citizen of this country. She thus, too has every right to get heard. Her struggle shows her faith in democracy and non-violence. Inamul Hasan said that on March 12, SSSC leader Faisal Khan with volunteer and sit on fast with Irom and will also discuss the future actions with her as on March 12 the Govt will release Irom for a short period of time due to some constitutional provisions”, it said.
Meanwhile, further according to the statement, “The well-known women rights activists Anandhi Ammal of Tamil Nadu said that from today we are taking this responsibility to spread Irom’s message of establishing democracy and restoring justice not only in Tamil Nadu but in the entire South India”.
“She also said it is much shocking that in these 12 years, not a single delegation from Govt. took the pain to meet Irom Sharmila or took her concern which she was supposed to get being a citizen of this great & democratic champion nation”, it added.
“Social activist Gandhimathy said that Irom’s fight is totally non-violent so how can we ignore her if we truly believe in Gandhian values. He also made an appeal to all Gandhians of the nation to come forward in her support”, it said.
“Renowned social activist Sendhil Nayagam said that AFSPA is anti-democratic legislative arrangement in a democratic country like India. This type of law just makes our long and cherished democratic values and traditions week. Thus there is a high time now that this law should be removed”, it said.
“Besides the speakers, a big gathering of women, social activists, Gandhians, Youth and people from all walks participated showing their solidarity with Irom’s struggle”, the statement further said.