Imphal, May 11 2011: Nationwide protests in solidarity to Sharmila’s cause, demanding repeal of AFSPA, will be launched starting from May 22 till August 18, 2011, the Human Rights Alert announced today.
Addressing reporters at its office, director of the HRA, Babloo Loitongbam, said that the protests which would be launched in a series are to be organised by the HRA jointly with People’s Union of Civil Liberties and National Alliance of People’s Movement.
54th years have passed since the imposition of AFSPA and ten years since Irom Sharmila launched her unwavering struggle against the “draconian” Act.
“It is a shame that in this land of Gandhi, a non-violent protester has been subjected to such humiliation for more than ten years”, stated PUCL and NAPM, in a statement.
“Globally, this struggle is unmatched in terms of its resilience and sustaining power.” The ‘draconian’ AFSPA has been implemented in NE states of India since 1958.The Parliament endorsed the ordinance as an Act on August 18, 1958, despite stiff resistance from various quarters,” the statement recalled Irom Sharmila Chanu began her fast-unto-death following the “Malom massacre” in which the AR gunned down 10 civilians at Malom near Tulihar Airport in Imphal on November 2, 2000.She has been on a resolute and continuous fast of ten years demanding the repeal of AFSPA and has been kept in a high security ward in Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) where she is being forcefully nasal fed.
The rights groups maintained that “if the struggle of Irom Sharmila fails, it will be a failure of the entire democratic movement in this country as well as a deep scar on the Indian democracy for generations” .
While pointing out the defects of the law, the statement went on to say that “this law is more draconian than its predecessor ordinance used by the British to suppress the Quit India Movement.
It gave extraordinary powers to personnel of the armed forces, to arrest without warrant and shoot and or kill on the basis of suspicion; and no legal action can be taken up against the armed forces without prior sanction from the Centre” .
It also said that in the name of controlling insurgency in the region, the Act has “intensified the insurgency in the region and legitimized thousands of gross human rights violations like rape, torture, murder and ‘disappearances’ of innocent people in the north east” .