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Questioning The World's Largest Democracy,
A Fair Judiciary And Star-Obsessed Media

By Swathi Gadepalli

25 October, 2012

In a recent move of Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign (SSSC), a nationwide protest to favor Irom Sharmila, is observing 12 Article series to reflect 12 years of suppression of Irom Sharmila's fast. Irom Sharmila is completing her 12 years of fast on 5th November. To highlight the plight, SSSC invites articles from public and selected articles will get published on its website www.savesharmila.org . In this series one article per day will be published on its website and will be dedicated to one year fast of Irom.

Sharmila who? I wondered when I had read her name a few months back on a networking site. Must be a weight lifter or some sportsperson, I thought. Then I read the caption below, the words "fast" caught my attention. Oh! It must be someone from Hazare's camp fasting for that anti-corruption bill. Just as that thought came into my mind I decided to click on the link to know more, (because through the media I had followed the movement with a patriotic fervor and had felt like I was really a part of the campaign.) Then her picture emerged in which there was sort of pipe to her nose, her condition must be serious to warrant such food pipes and stuff I thought, How many days had she been on the hunger strike I wondered next, I read the article. It had shocked the hell out of me. Eleven years (twelve now) of fasting?? Why? How? When? I didn’t understand anything else. Just that, eleven years a lady had fasted...Eleven years...a lady had felt so close to a cause that she decided to dedicate her time, energy and health to fight for it. Then I reread the article to know what was the cause for which a person can go to such length. I read something about special powers given to the army to protect civilians from “militants” was being misused and abused by the army. Fake encounters and killing of innocents was mentioned. What special powers are they talking about? Looking up for these "powers “on wikipedia left me feeling cheated. Cheated by my own nation, yes the law and order situation must have been horrible in these places to put the armed forces there-accepted, yes they need to fight militancy and keep terrorism at bay-accepted but nothing gives the right for a culprit, a rapist roaming freely whether hes a civilian or an armyman.

It saddened me to think that some people in the army are doing all this when they should be the one who are supposed to protect us, but it's not completely their fault; it's the fault of the Govt. to have given them such arbitrary power, like a parent allowing a small kid to play with fire...it will eventually burn the kid’s hands or it may let the kid set fire to the house.

But what is also shocking to me is the fact that at a time when the media of the nation has become a force to reckon with, it is really a sorry thing to see how the media chooses to highlight some issues while ignoring the others. It is the same media who made a five day fast into a nationwide movement while ignoring a 12 year fast in A NORTH EASTERN STATE. The good old trips and the glamour quotient of a news item seem to dictate what is to shown in the name of "news". SHAME that the media decides what is fit for us to know and what is not. And sad that most people like me have no idea who she is. Sharmila who indeed!!

Swathi Gadepalli is a student from Hyderabad. She can be mailed at swathi.gadepalli@gmail.com




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