Jun 23, 2011, 06.14am IST
“The government showed willingness to engage with Baba Ramdev when he landed in Delhi. For Irom Sharmila, they can at least send someone from the National Commission for Women. They can talk and the matter can move forward,” said Faisal Khan of the National Alliance of People’s Movement, one of the organizers of the event.
Sharmila, now 39, went on fast in Manipur, protesting against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). The Act allows soldiers posted in the area to detain any civilian on suspicion. The alleged killing of 10 civilians by Assam Rifles in Imphal in 2000 prompted the fast. It soon earned her the sobriquet “Iron Lady of Manipur”.
According to Khan, this is just one of the many campaigns that have been organized to get the AFSPA repealed. “In 2007, 10 people fasted for five days in Manipur. Ours is just a solidarity campaign,” says Khan who was a part of the 2007 fast.
After the candlelight vigil, other activist groups such as Jagriti Mahila Samiti and Sadbhav Mission, plan to write to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, requesting them to grant Sharmila an audience. A journey from Srinagar to Imphal is also being planned with the objective to involve the country’s youth in this movement. A three-month long signature campaign starting October 2 is also in the works.