IMPHAL, Sep 30 : Anti AFSPA crusader Irom Chanu Sharmila has stressed on the necessity to lay the ground work for a mass based people’s movement against the continued imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Manipur and the North East. Sharmila said this while speaking at a seminar organised by the North East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS) under the theme ‘AFSPA and People’s Movement’ today at the Delhi School of Social Work, Delhi University.
The seminar was organised in connection with the 120th birth anniversary of Lamyanba Hijam Irabot. Speaking for the first time outside Manipur after she decided to end her 16 years fast against AFSPA, Sharmila said that her decision to end her fast and enter politics was an attempt to move from an individual-centric struggle to a mass based movement against the Army Act. Earlier, delivering the welcome address, convenor of NEFIS, Chinglen Khumukcham said that it is essential to note the truth about Irabot’s intensive work towards building a truly democratic, progressive people’s movement in the region.
The seminar was organised to further broaden the horizon of anti-AFSPA movement, he added. Noted women rights activist, Maya John who also attended the seminar emphasised on the need for the people to unite and extend support to each others’ struggles. Professor Nalini Sundar, who was one of the speakers, at the seminar said that the unity of people’s struggles will ensure that the horizon of the movements remain open and do not end up as narrow, sectarian struggles. The seminar was attended by a large number of students, not only from Manipur, but also from other States of the North East, who were keen to meet Sharmila, said NEFIS in a statement.