Even convicts are allowed visitors unlike Sharmila: HR champions


IMPHAL, Nov 5: Even criminals in jail have been given the right to meet their visitors but human rights defender Irom Chanu Sharmila has been deprived of this fundamental right even to meet her own family members by the state government, said Delhi-based women’s rights activist and film-maker Vani Subramanian during a public meeting organized by Sharmila Kanba Lup today at Bhagyachandra Open Air Theatre (BOAT), Palace Compund, Imphal.
Various social organizations and rights groups of the state today took part in the commemoration function to celebrate the completion of 10 years of epic fast of Irom Chanu Sharmila who to demand the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958 after the Malom massacre where 10 civilians were gunned down by the personnel of Assam Rifles.
Vani during the public meeting further said that the state government has put Sharmila under confinement for quite a long time at the security ward of Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS), Porompat depriving all her fundamental rights.
All voices of the people have been shunned. Neither Sharmila’s voice can reach to the people nor people’s can reach voice to her whereby alienating the Iron Lady from the rest of the world, Vani asserted.She said that the people of the North-East have been suffering at the hands of security forces who have acquired “impunity” under the provisions of AFSPA. The rape and murder case of Thangjam Manorama and other innumerable cases of extra-judicial killing and enforced disappearances in Manipur are clear instances of gross violation of human rights carried out by security personnel in the name of counter-insurgency operations, Vani noted.
She maintained that the only solution to the decades long unrest in the North-East would be the repeal of AFSPA and other black laws from the region and then create rooms for holding political dialogues with the armed insurgent groups.
Hailing Sharmila as a staunch follower of Mahatma Gandhi, Henri Tiphagne of Tamil Nadu-based Rights Watch NGO said that Sharmila has been on fast for the last ten years for the cause of the people demanding the repeal of AFSPA but the government seems to take no notice of it and continues to treat Sharmila as a criminal rather than a rights defender of the state.He said that Sonia Gandhi’s proposed visit to Manipur in November would be absurd if she fails to visit the Iron Lady Sharmila. Sonia, being a woman as well as a mother, should know the miseries of women in different of the country who have been experiencing lots of hardships and torments at the hands of the security forces, Henri averred.
He also said that the government has also been imposing different draconian laws in other insurgency prone areas of the country such as Chhattisgarh for countering the Naxalites or the Maoists but the very law ends up in human rights violation rather than battling the insurgents.Henri asserted that unfortunately the members of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) have not visited Sharmila till now and also the state government has quashed the Manipur Human Rights Commission rendering the people at stake. There is indeed necessary on the part on the government to repeal the AFSPA and initiate talks with the insurgent groups to bring an amicable solution in the near future, he added.
The rights activist from Tamil Nadu also raised strident voice for the release of Sharmila and repeal of AFSPA, and said that the “Festival of Hope, Justice and Peace” celebrating the indefatigable spirit of Sharmila will go on in other parts of the country till December 10.
The public meeting was presided over by the convenors of Sharmila Kanba Lup, namely K Taruni and Ak Janaki Leima.
The president of Kuki Mothers’ Association, Rose Mangi Haokip, editor of Aza Daily, Valley Rose Hungyo, chairman of Manipur Peace Centre, A. Jiteshwar Sharma, and executive director of Human Rights Alert, Babloo Loitongbam also spoke on Sharmila and her decade long struggle for the repeal of AFSPA.
The meeting further resolved to strengthen the internationally acclaimed movement of Irom Sharmila for the repeal of AFSPA by rendering utmost support from all sections of the society; urge the Central and state government to allow the UN special rapporteur Margaret Sekagya visit Sharmila; and also demanded the government to declare Sharmila as a “political prisoner” rather than an offender charged for trying to commit suicide.
Prior to the public meeting, a mass rally was also organized by Sharmila Kanba Lup today from PDA Complex to BOAT commemorating the completion of ten years of epic fast of Irom Chanu Sharmila.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here