Oct 17, 2011
SRINAGAR: A Srinagar to Imphal anti-Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) ‘yatra’ covering 4,500km began on Sunday “to generate public opinion” for the withdrawal of the law from Jammu & Kashmir and the northeast.
The activists prayed at the historic Hazratbal shrine for peace and harmony. They then went to the Press Enclave, where Patkar and the others addressed the activists before embarking on the ‘yatra’, which will pass through 10 states before concluding at Imphal’s Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital on October 27.
Sharmila, a leading civil rights activist, has been on a hunger strike in hospital since November 2000 demanding AFSPA’s repeal. Patkar demanded the act’s withdrawal and said guns and violence don’t solve any problem.
“Dialogue is the only way to resolve complex issues like Kashmir. We will fight jointly to save humanity. Even the central interlocutors have demanded the withdrawal of AFSPA. We will continue our fight till it is withdrawn,” she said. Faisal Khan said: “It is for the first time that such a ‘yatra’ is being organized to protect democratic values.”