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Updated: November 5, 2011 17:16 IST

Irom Sharmila's fast enters 12th year

Iboyaima Laithangbam
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Irom Sharmila went on a fast unto death from November 4, 2000, demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from the Manipur. File photo
The Hindu
Irom Sharmila went on a fast unto death from November 4, 2000, demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from the Manipur. File photo

‘Government afraid of civil society groups'

Irom Sharmila, whose fast enters its 12th year this Saturday, was produced on Friday in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Imphal East on completion of her one-year detention.

The law under which she is detained permits the authority to detain her for one year at one go. As she refused to break her world-record fast she was remanded in judicial custody for 15 days. The period is likely to be extended.

Talking to journalists, Ms. Sharmila expressed disappointment over the denial of permission to the representatives of the Save Sharmila Campaign, coming from Jammu, Delhi and other States, to meet her. It is in sharp contrast to the government policy of allowing some others if it will serve its purpose.

Sharmila said that it appeared that the government was afraid of civil society organisations.

Asked what she would like to tell Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding her campaign, Ms. Sharmila said there was no point in telling anything to a person who had decided not to listen to anything sensible. For 11 years, the Prime Minister and others had refused to listen and they were likely to do so again.

Ms. Sharmila had been anguished by the increasing instances of massacring innocent persons long after the gun-toting extremists had fled the scene of bloodshed.

Gun-toting extremists

She went on a fast unto death from November 4, 2000 — when 10 innocent persons were killed by troopers of 8 Assam Rifles — demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 from the State. Since then, she has refused to break her fast. As she had to be force fed, a room in the J.N. Institute of Medical Sciences was declared a sub-jail. She spends her time reading, writing poems and articles for some newspapers. She has been given the highest national awards by some countries for her sacrifice and campaign.

Carte blanche

Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh told The Hindu that the AFSPA was imposed to combat foreign-trained extremists who had gained an upper hand in the State. If it was withdrawn the extremists belonging to more than 60 underground organisations would get the carte blanche.

The State would be in an embarrassing position if it had to go to the Centre for getting the AFSPA reinstated.

He said that in view of the protests by the people, the government had lifted the Act on an experimental basis from seven Assembly segments of Imphal Municipal areas on August 22, 2004. The government had hoped for a good response from the extremists. However, they launched an attack during a Ras Lila dance festival at the International Society for Krishna Consciousness here , killing six persons and injuring many others.

Withdrawal of the Act had not made much of a difference, Mr. Singh said, adding that his government was under great pressure to reinstate the Act in the segments.

cant we find a solution for this stalemate instead of waiting for another year to say its her 13th year.

from:  Arvind
Posted on: Dec 6, 2011 at 17:43 IST

We should salute the iron lady of manipur. The central government has time to see the real campaign of Sharmila and has no eyes to see the innocent bloodshed of manipur due to AFSPA. All should realize the 12 year fastng of Her for her state. I couldn't understand why the Government has not putting any attention on this issue. It has time to see the Anna's fast why can't Sharmila's?

from:  D.Roselin mary
Posted on: Nov 7, 2011 at 10:48 IST

Gandhi era has finished, now it is Congress era.

from:  Srisanta
Posted on: Nov 5, 2011 at 22:32 IST

our prime minister has got time to attend parties with criket team after winning world cup, he also has time to visit U.S. in every 3 months,.......... poor guy cannot find time to review AFSPA and end sharmilaji's 12 year old hunger strike .......

from:  Deepesh
Posted on: Nov 5, 2011 at 21:50 IST

On matters of national security and terrorism govt should not be complacent. People like this lady should understand that in the larger interests of the nation she should not do anything to pressure the govt that will help militants.

from:  Raju Bharatan
Posted on: Nov 5, 2011 at 17:06 IST

salute to her! We can't do this even for a month and she is doing for the last 12 years.

from:  kumar
Posted on: Nov 5, 2011 at 14:50 IST

I think the Hon.Prime Minister should pay a visit to Ms.Sharmila to persuade her to give up the fast.She is a worthy a person to give this gesture.It will go a long way in the minds our citizens in the Northeast.She is a noble person and she has been on fast for a noble reason.If the government cannot remove AFSPA after twelve years what is the purpose of the government and the security forces.Government need to think about this deeply and try to gather support to disarm all the insurgent groups.Government will need to pay attention to real causes like Ms.Sharmila's and others.This will allow government to give itself some positive life into to a stagnant state of affairs. Thanks to the author and the hindu for publishing such important issues.

from:  Prem
Posted on: Nov 5, 2011 at 14:02 IST

Great work is being done by Sharmila, atleast we people should support her like we support Anna hazare ...Hindu playing a good role to highlight such things...Media must come forward to make this issue highlight to everyone !!!

from:  Joginder rohilla
Posted on: Nov 5, 2011 at 13:47 IST

All those who support Irom should consider registering themselves for voluntary home guard services.Whenever their is a problem they can also participate in such volatile situations.It might result in them revisiting their opinion and finding practically acceptable solutions to all.

from:  Punkaj
Posted on: Nov 5, 2011 at 13:33 IST

It's praise worthy that sharmila could stand up against the inhuman laws(AFSPA)and her courageous action has unravelled all the insensitivity and irresponsibility of the government towards the citizens.keep going, if you could come through this long year i hope you can keep going for another few year till the issue is solved.

from:  ng ngashangva
Posted on: Nov 5, 2011 at 12:49 IST

This shows that how India deals with their people. This is not the time to celebrate her new entry, this is the time to support her.Most people dont know about Sharmila yet even though medias are focusing at her. What kind of nation is this ??? I accept with Mr. Vishwanath that Irom Sharmila should prefer a better way.

from:  Rangaraj
Posted on: Nov 5, 2011 at 12:46 IST

She should know that her endles fasting campaign is futile. She should stop her fast, get her thoughts clear join hands with moderates and go on a public opinion mobilizing campaign. If NE hasn't developed it is because people don't let others live, there is a drug and gun culture, lack of investment and a self obsessed, indifferent and callous centre does not care. It is as if on an evolutionary scale NE does not know how to govern themselves, live and let live. The urgent need is to invest in education and economic development and infrastructure in a big way. Don't leave it to the states. Centre should pitch in in a big way.

from:  Vishwanath
Posted on: Nov 5, 2011 at 11:35 IST

I,as a Manipuri, cannot express by words as much honor as I actually like to give you and as much honor as you actually deserve. your dedication coupled with an unparalleled steadfastness will never go in vain. may god bless you with whatever wish you dream of !!!

from:  Moirangthem Reagan Singh
Posted on: Nov 5, 2011 at 11:09 IST

great lady..... why people dont support her in her fight. media can support anna but why not her in her fight for people.

from:  hari
Posted on: Nov 5, 2011 at 10:52 IST

what a great lady i think she is the real god because how can one live without food for so much days what a great dedication to the people living in austerity only because for the other's pain.she lives only and only because she want that the poor law should be uplifted she has no intrest for herself no wonder if she would be awarded with noble prize

from:  dhanesh chandra
Posted on: Nov 5, 2011 at 10:45 IST

After 12 tough and unbeatable years, the govt. have not taken any decision on Irom campaign. This should prick the conscience of every citizen.

from:  Ajith Kamar
Posted on: Nov 5, 2011 at 10:01 IST

salute to a courageous lady.irmola one cannot deny ur convictions
and sense of sacrifice.however dear this is not the way to go.afspa
is very imp for persons fighting insurgency ,afterall they are also
innocents and somebodys loved ones.we cannot tie the hands of our
jawans and send them to face those who have no such inhibitions and is a painful decision but which has no alternative in
a disturbed and violence prone area.what u should be insisting on is
a greater emphasis on its judicious implementation and bringing to
book those exploiting it for vested intersts.suely afspa does not
imply killing with impunity.We must ensure thet we put enough
pressure on concerned authorities and reduce human rights violations
in the real sense.this is the price we have to pay for living in
amulticultural society in a hostile environment.

from:  navjyot
Posted on: Nov 5, 2011 at 09:18 IST

Very good article by The Hindu. This issue needs more highlighting in the media. Kudos to TH for doing this.
I hope the massive efforts put by Sharmila pay off. I cant imagine how she can endure a fast for that long feeding through tubes.
The Govt of India needs to take action in this matter.

from:  Sameer
Posted on: Nov 5, 2011 at 08:54 IST
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