Editorial – “Where is Iron Lady?”


Leader writer: Hrishikesh AngomWhile the international communities begin to acknowledge the decade long struggle of Iron Lady Irom Chanu Sharmila for the repeal of Armed Forces Special Power Act from the soil of Manipur, neither the President of India Pratibha Patil nor the Congress Supremo Sonia Gandhi had mentioned even a single word on Sharmila’s struggle in their public address. Yet, both the President of India and Congress Supremo are ideal women leaders who have brought so much about women empowerment in the highly conservative patriarchal Indian society. The whole country regards both of them not just for their respective positions but as ideal feminine figures who could sway the people towards the path of progress and development.
In her public address, the President of India Pratibha Patil mentioned the importance of women empowerment in the light of changing global scenario. However, the hard struggle of Irom Chanu Sharmila fails to get notice of Her Excellency during her maiden two-day visit to the state. It is an established fact that many people have lost their lives under the shadow of AFSPA and many women of the state have become widows. The question of “women empowerment” in the state will become absurd if their male counterparts are constantly harassed and tormented under such draconian law. Sharmila has begun her struggle not at the instigation of any person or organization but at the behest of her emotions of a woman who cannot withstand the torments of violence everywhere around her. She has indeed taken up the bold step for the repeal of AFSPA for a shining future tomorrow. The empowerment of Manipuri women should come first with the acknowledgement of Sharmila’s struggle rather than initiating other programmes for women.
The necessity of peace in the path of development as underlined by the President Pratibha Patil should be considered by making Manipur-a violence free state. Every time whenever a national leader visits the state, he or she will surely speak on peace talks so as to end the prolonged armed conflict of the state. But, those words seem to exist only in mouth and not in hands. With guns in hands no one can ever come to a cordial term. It is the government which should initiate the peace process rather than imposing draconian laws which would otherwise harm the lives of innocent people of the state.
Again coming to the President’s address at IT Park, the burning issues of the state were left out rendering the people in utter dismay as they would have obviously wanted the Head of the Indian Republic to say something to appease the people who have been seriously affected by the torments of gun violence for the last many decades. Some skeptical persons have even raised questions as to whether the issues of the state have been designed behind the screen to meet some hidden agenda. In one way the people of the state are quite tolerant able to deal with all kinds of issues right from armed conflict to shortage of essential commodities. It is said that insurgency movement has alienated the people of the state from the mainland country, but it is the weakness of the government to initiate measures to bring the people together under a common platform.
It is the high time for the national leaders to deal with the issues of the state with utmost sincerity and dedication rather than saying something simply to adorn their speeches. The struggle of Irom Chanu is yet to be acknowledged by these leaders. They should try to save the life of this Iron Lady whose life has been dedicated for the cause of upholding human rights in the state. 


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