October 11, 2011
A campaign to highlight Manipur’s Irom Sharmila about 11-year-long crusade against the ‘draconian’ Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, in force in the Northeast and J-K will be launched on October 16.
The ‘Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign’ group will launch a public caravan from Srinagar to Imphal. It is a joint initiative of various social organisations and movements to extend support to Irom Sharmila’s unique protest and to mobilise mass opinion in the country for repeal of the act.
According to Faisal Khan, a renowned activist of National Alliance for People’s Movement and key organiser of the campaign, the caravan is being organised to spread awareness about Irom Sharmila’s protest and to generate public support for her. Sharmila has been observing fast for last 10 years since November 5, 2000, demanding repeal of the AFSPA.
The caravan comprising about 20-22 people will cover 10 states and a distance of about 4500 kms. It will move from Srinagar to Imphal through Jammu, Ludhiana, Karnal, Panipat, New Delhi, Aligarh, Kanpur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Patna, Ranchi, Kolkata and Guwahati.
The journey will start on October 16 and will reach Imphal on October 27. Magsaysay awardee Dr Sandeep Pandey and renowned activist Medha Patkar will flag off the caravan.
The caravan will travel by train, bus and car and will walk a few kilometers once it reaches Imphal to Jawaharlal Nehru hospital where Irom Sharmila has been kept confined and is force-fed.
More than 50 organisations including National Alliance of People’s Movement, Asha Parivar, Khudai Khidmatgar, Mission Bhartiyam, Sadbhav mission, ANHAD, J&K RTI Movement, INSAF, PEACE, Centre for Social justice (J&K), Yuva Koshish, SAMAR, Le Mashale, Society for Youth Development, Asian Centre for Social Studies, Just Peace Foundation, We The Common People (WTCP), Student Islamic Organization (SIO), Mahila Chetna Kendra, Jagriti Mahila Samiti, Inqualab Zindabad, Society for Youth Development, Save Democracy Repeal AFSPA, Rights Initiative, Islamic Relief & Research Trust Kashmir and many others have already extended support to the campaign.