The first Irom Sharmila scholarship has gone to Iymon Majeed of Panjipora village in Sopore district of Jammu and Kashmir. He is a student of M.A. Political Science at the Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi.
The scholarship committee received over 50 applications for the cash award of Rs. 50,000.
The annual award is based on the financial needs, academic seriousness, suffering under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) and potential contribution to the campaign against the Act. Many of the applicants were from the north-east.
The AFSPA was imposed in Kashmir in July 1990. Soon, the Army commandeered the house of Majeed's family. They had to stay in different houses four times in quick succession like hundreds of other families; the displaced persons became vagrants in their own State.
Sharmila, who had said she would not accept any more award or recognition, expressed her happiness when the award was instituted.
On November 4, 2000, she launched a fast unto death in support of her demand. Since then, she has been released and rearrested every year on charges of attempt to commit suicide, maximum punishment for which can extend only up to one year.
It all began with the massacring of 10 innocent people, including a woman, on November 2 that year at Malom near Imphal by troopers of 8 Assam Rifles. Someone detonated a home-made bomb while the 8 Assam Rifles convoy was passing by. Although none of them was hurt, the livid troopers backtracked their jeeps and shot dead the 10 people who were either waiting for bus and working at their homes.