November 6, 2009 2 Comments
One Day token Hunger Strike in support of Sharmila Irom’s epic struggle
Poet and activist Sharmila Irom began her epic hunger strike on November 2, 2000. This is now the tenth year of her hunger strike. Her hunger strike has one single goal: withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA). imposed an even more murderous act, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. This act is a harsher version of the act the British used to quell the 1942 Quit Indian Movement. This act allows not just officers but even Junior Commissioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers of the army to search, arrest, and even kill any person on grounds of mere “suspicion”.Yes, they can kill anyone with impunity, without fear of persecution! The armed forces have committed gross human rights violations under the cover of this act. The jawans of Assam Rifles daily arrest, beat up, torture nearly 80 to 100 people every day! Many women have suffered sexual abuse, rape, gang rape, and not one soldier has ever been prosecuted.
On November 2, 2000, the Assam Rifles (AR) gunned down 10 people at a bus stop in Malom village, near Imphal. Unknown insurgents had planted a bomb near the AR camp the previous day and, unable to locate the culprits, AR personnel hit out at random, killing many innocent citizens. Human rights organizations protested, to no avail. Shaken to the core by this injustice, poet and journalist Irom Sharmila decided to go on a hunger strike in protest.
Since then ten years have passed. The government and armed forces are adamantly refusing to withdraw the AFPSA, despite government appointed Justice Jeevan Reddy judicial commission recommending it. And Sharmila is determined that till it is withdrawn, she will continue her struggle.
This year, more than 140 organisations have decided to support Sharmila Irom’s hunger strike by organizing various programs during the week from November 2 to 7. The demands are:
- In all states where AFPSA is in force, all cases of rape and violence against women be investigated by a independent judicial body and those responsible be prosecuted under the law of the land.
- The AFPSA be withdrawn from Manipur and the other states where it in force.
In support of this countrywide protest, Lokayat is organizing the following program:
Program: One Day Hunger Strike in support of Sharmila Irom
Date: November 7, Saturday
Time: Morning 7 to Evening 7 pm
Venue: Tilak Putla, Mandai, Pune.
Do join us to support this protest. If you cannot join us for the full day, do join us for some time. You can also participate in the full day hunger strike by declaring that you are participating, and come for some time to the protest site, and for the rest of the day keep a fast wherever you are, in your office / home / college. The spirit is what matters, and of course we believe that everyone who announces will keep the promise honestly.