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Thursday, April 14, 2011



I am clueless as to how many of my friends would know about her but the netizens who have been supporting Anna Hazare who everybody, till a few days ago, has been hailing and supporting avidly through 'Click-It' campaigns and roused-full-of-spirit status updates on various social networking sites has taken up the cause of Irom who has also been given an appropriate nickname - "Iron Lady of Manipur".

For those who dont know, Irom is a civil rights activist who undertook a vow in 2000 to go on a political fast after the disturbing aftermath of Malom Massacre where 10 people in Malom a town in the Imphal Valley of Manipur waiting for their buses at a bus station were allegedly gunned down by the Assam Rifles, one of the Indian Paramilitary forces operating in the state. These included 62-year old woman, Leisangbam Ibetomi, and 18-year old Sinam Chandramani, a 1988 National Child Bravery Award winner.

An aroused 28 yrs old Irom sought the blessings of her mother and responded to an unresponsive Government by launching a hunger strike campaign demanding a repeal of AFSPA ( Armed Forces Special Powers Act ) in the entire North Eastern region of India wherever this law has been imposed.

Of course, it has been more than ten years since Irom has been fasting but no subsequent appropriate actions have been taken for her campaign except for arresting Irom for trying to commit suicide three days after her strike began. Added to it, a routine employment of a certain Jeevan Reddy Commission whose appeal for a repeal of AFSPA was indignantly rejected.

She is now being force fed through a nasogastric tube because of the imminent deterioration of her health, which has now become a part of her identity. Her body organs have begun to degenerate irreversibly, her menstrual periods have halted and the NG tube through which she is being force fed is painful.

If Anna Hazare's strike could have been met with success in a matter of four days, then why is it that a woman like Irom Sharmila not being metted with her political goal after a decade long strife of not eating and drinking orally or not meeting her mother as a part of her undertaking ? Is this democracy or demo-crazy? Why should one person suffer for an issue that is supposed to be a part of our nation which only is felt as One in a manner of unity in the rarest of moments, like after winning a cricket world cup.. Even when Nobel Laureates like Shirin Ebadi has vocally taken up Sharmila's stand against AFSPA, the government simply shouldnt ensconce themselves in their snug chairs turning a blind eye towards a depleting woman's plea.

I like my fellow believers truly render my support for this unflinching lady and her struggle for justice. To the spirit of Irom .. Isn't it the same government that had accused Sharmila once of suicide , very much responsible for her death if that were to occur as a result of an unrequited non violent fight against loss of liberty to a draconian law?

All this makes me think, have we really gained Independence ever in The Lands of Gandhi..


  1. because one stokes nationalist feelings, Bharat Mata and Vande Mataram while the other challenges nationalism....talk any thing about the army to this middle class and the media and they will claim you are a traitor....whatever is convenient for the politics is accepted not what challenges this rational order..

  2. Several things first her body organs have not begun to degenerate irreversibly. This is a disinformation hard to know why it is published. There could be any number of reasons, originally to glean more sympathy for her. Today I believe it is part of an assassination attempt. I don't want to get drawn into Net conspiracy theory. Her imminent demise was first reported on 22 September 2010 in the Hindu due to complications around her force feeding and despite medication. I spoke to her the day after the man responsible for the report was actually with her in the JNIMS on that day and he got in touch with me at her request. There was nothing wrong with her then and I doubt there is anything wrong with her now. Except since March the local gangsters will not allow anyone non-Manipuri with any independence to visit her and report back to the world. She does have more than one set of adversaries. The Union Government as well as the Jeevan Reddy constituted the second administrative reforms commission chaired by V Moilly the current Law minister both that commission and Sri Moilly are in favour of AF(SP)A reform if not complete repeal. The name being so offensive and justice needing to be seen to be done I hope they go with complete repeal in the end. Your PM Dr Singh has publicly stated that AF(SP)A needs to be made more humane. It would be a personal humiliation for someone considered weak if the only honest politician currently in parliament to leave politics with this inhumane law still on the books. But as he puts it when pressed. He is only one man. No one counters with but you are technically India's Prime Minister and this isn't Pakistan. The Union Home Secretary Sri Pillai also wants repeal or reform though he has tried passing the buck to local CMs, Omar of J&K though is the only one to try and the Army have put him back in his place. And Sri Chidambaram also wants reform/repeal. She won't know directly about any like buttons you click here but if you wanted to contact her and give her your support which I know she does appreciate please write to her at Irom Sharmila Chanu, Security Ward, Jawaharlal Nehru I M S, Porompat, Imphal East, Manipur 795001 India. Though for young people writing letters as it takes more than 30 seconds is like asking you to run a marathon. Do it or don't but even this fine blog though it may help her indirectly so I don't want to criticize too much will not get to her a letter/card probably will. There is an internet campaign with an email using writetosharmila at something but as no one prints those out or sends them on well there isn't much point in emailing her there. deziecoutinho@yahoo.co.uk