IMPHAL, May 24 – It has been 53 years on Sunday since the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958 was promulgated in the North East.
It was promulgated in the North East as an Ordinance on May 22, 1958.
“Will Irom Sharmila experience AFSPA-free Manipur during her life time?” was what many people asked during a programme “Children’s Parliament on AFSPA 1958” held here on Sunday which was organised by Just Peace Foundation.
In Bangalore too, protesters echoed the same sentiment when they marched from Town Hall to Mahatma Gandhi Statue on MG Road, Bangalore on Sunday.
In Imphal, school children below 18 years carried out a “Children’s Parliament” session. Former journalist and ex-member of Manipur Human Rights Commission Yambem Laba acted as the Speaker of the Children’s Parliament which debated on the AFSPA, 1958.
Meanwhile, far south in Bangalore, a large number of activists carried out a protest march demanding the repeal of AFSPA, 1958.
PUCL ( Bangalore) with National Alliance of People’s Movement, Karnataka, Alternative Law Forum, New Socialist Alternative, People’s Solidarity Concerns, Kashmir Youth Intellect, Centre for Social Concern, St Joseph’s College, Maraa, Sangama, Aneka, Pedestrian Pictures, National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation, Student Christian Movement of India (Bangalore), Stree Jagrutu Samiti, Slum Jagattu, Sichrem, Vimochana, People’s Democratic Forum and many other human rights and communal harmony bodies organised the Bangalore event.
The programmes are part of the responses to the clarion call given by PULC and NAPM in protest against the continuous clamping of the Act for the past 53 years in the NE region and in support of the decade-long fast-unto-death struggle by Sharmila.
On May 11, PUCL and NAPM had given a clarion call to all democratic forums, human rights groups and people movements to come together from May 22 to August 19, in the struggle to repeal AFSPA by organising public protests, dharnas, relay hunger fasts, public meetings and seminars, and by organising film screenings and plays.