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Irom sharmila’s Unmet Demands: Government’s Excuse,
A Political Blasphemy To Cover Their Failure In Reinstating Peace

By Pankaj Pathak

02 November, 2012

Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign 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. This is the 9th in the series.

Irom sharmila’s name symbolizes with sacrifice and compassion and truly she is unsung hero of not only India but also of world when it comes to peace and harmony. She is the sole torch bearer of values and path shown by Mahatma Gandhi, the father of nation for demanding one’s rights in most polite and democratic manner but still a victim of ignorance of nation and government which observes 2nd Oct as most auspicious day in history of our democracy and country. She in actual manner deserves a title as “Daughter of nation”, for her courage and grit for fighting on behalf of people’s causes while her life is on stake. Biographically, she has a name as civil rights activist and poet from Manipur, fasting from last 12 years with demand of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) be repealed. But another unnoticed human angle of her is that, she is also a lady who must have had dreams of living a life like every other woman. Ironically this dream for her became insignificant with an incidence happened in “Malom, Manipur, Nov, 2000” in which 10 innocent citizens including women and children were killed by Assam Rifles unit responding to an earlier attack by the armed insurgents against the Assam Rifles. This particular incidence has transformed the mind of Irom and she started her fast-to-death hunger strike thereafter. It has passed more than a decade but resolve and grit of the “Iron lady” remained intact with her demand of repealing AFSPA. This continuing struggle of her for the justice and rights of people shows the compassion and value of every human life in her heart and mind. However government is defying her demands and the toll of human casualty both of civilians and armed forces in insurgency hit states are on rise, reflecting the insensitivity for human life and lack of political will of every elected government to resolve the issue. The saddest part is that judiciary in which we still have faith is also looking hand in hand on this issue with government and amongst civil societies those who espoused Irom's demand have been appalled by zero reaction on the name of AFSPA being issue of a national security.

Induction of AFSPA was to restore order and discipline but instead it turned few arm-force personals autocratic with largesse of power. As a result of such unchecked empowerment, their actions no longer have redeeming values as acts of discipline, because they have done enough damage to respect for a societal institution of democracy, human rights and governance. Therefore the government should understand that reconsidering the AFSPA and paying heed to Irom’s demand would send a message across the insurgents of empowerment of the non violent and democratic manner of protest and demands for rightful causes.

Nevertheless, the military should also be part of decision making along with government and reaching to a permanent solution of insurgency hit areas as removal of AFSPA without consultation may adversely affect the moral of armed forces. However, it seems that some quarters of political fraternity and armed forces are not willing to resolve the problem for some political mileage and dragging the issue for decades and slowly making people’s mind to live with it as it’s never ending. But, we are fortunate to have the hope and inspiration in the form of Irom to fight and need to stand behind her and demand our rights of freedom to live a fearless life. The nation is ours, so the government and they need to listen to us as our demands are constitutional rights. For the sake of humanity, communal harmony, love, compassion and most importantly reclaiming our democratic and constitutional rights, we need to come together and fight for our demands along with Irom. I would also like to pay homage to the all the lives lost in insurgency and end up here with a inquisitive quote of Julian Assange, founder, spokesperson, internet activist, and editor in chief of WikiLeaks, “Every time we witness an injustice and do not act, we train our character to be passive in its presence and thereby eventually lose all ability to defend ourselves and those we love.”

Pankaj Pathak is a volunteer of Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign. He is a core member of Mission Bhartiyam.




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