This International women’s day celebration, let’s make in support of “Iron Lady of Manipur”, who is top women icon of India, who is fasting since last 800 weeks (15+ years) world’s largest hunger strike for the repeal of AFSPA 1958. A civil right activist, a political activist and poet who is struggle for freedom (Azaadi) from AFSPA is none other than Irom Chanu Sharmila. Hats off to the brave lady of India, whose voice is being suppressed by almost all political leaders and parties for their personal gains. P. Chidambaram and Saifuddin soz of congress advocated for the revocation but the same party leader Captain Amarinder Singh CM (2002-07) of Punjab was against the revocation.
The same act was passed in parliament in 1983 which was applicable for Punjab and Chandigarh but was withdrawn in 1997 after 14 long years. Also same act came into force in 1980 for Jammu and Kashmir and still in force. This act is to deal internal security of the nation between states by central government. The AFSP act has roots of Britishers who first coined the act in 1942 to suppressed the “Quit India Movement”
Irom Sharmila started hunger strike in protest after Malom Massacre, her primary and basic demand to union government is to revoke AFSPA from Manipur, instead of looking into the case and solve police arrested her on falsely charged with an “attempt to commit suicide”. Arrested – Released and Re-arrested was common in her life on similar charge even after she denied the act of committing suicide.
She become the “Icon of Public resistance” by 2004 and started his strike at jantar mantar, number of student organisations, human right activists and many citizens were in her support but many of the women who protested nakedly with the slogan “Indian Army rape us” were arrested for 3 months. Even Nobel-laureate and human right activists supported the cause and assured to take the issue to United Nations Human Rights Council.
Gwangju Prize for Human Rights, which was given to Sharmila for “an outstanding person or group, who termed to be active in the promotion and advocacy of Peace, Democracy and Human Rights” in 2007.
The first Mayillama Award of the Mayilamma Foundation “for achievement of her nonviolent struggle in Manipur” was given to Irom Sharmila in 2009.
Lifetime achievement award from the Asian Human Rights Commission to Irom in 2010, later she was awarded Rabindranath Tagore Peace Prize of the Indian Institute of Planning and Management, along with a cash award of 5,100,000 rupees, and the Sarva Gunah Sampannah “Award for Peace and Harmony” from the Signature Training Centre, was given to support her cause.
In 2011, 3 November 100 women formed a human chain in Ambari to show support for Sharmila, while other civil society groups staged a 24-hour fast in a show of solidarity for her cause and being continued every year. In the same year Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign (SSSC) was launched to highlight Sharmila’s struggle and in December, Pune University announced a scholarship program for 39 female Manipuri students to take degree courses in honour of Irom Sharmila.
Sharmila’s cause had become the anti-AFSPA campaign since she started struggle in 2000. Yet there is no response from past and present central government. Rahul Gandhi spoke on behalf of Rohit Vemula (HCU) and Kanhiya Kumar (JNU) in parliament but why not Irom Sharmila..? Why TMC candidates rose voice in parliament even after they extended their support openly in 2011…? Modi ji didn’t respond to Rohit and Kanhiya issue in his 75mins speech because they are from Dalith and Communist background, but why not he spoke on Sharmila she is not dalith..? What about the slogan of “SUB KA VIKAAS”…? Sharmila is trying to tell her “MANN KI BAATH” Modi ji please listen to her.