Need to not belittle the 16 years fast, Further alienating the people


Sharmila has ended her fast. However her stand against the continued imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act continues and will continue. This is her stand. A stand which everyone should respect. And in respecting her stand it is important to keep in mind that no one should try to belittle her effort. Fasting for nearly 16 years is not a joke and to respect the tremendous effort that Sharmila took up, no one should try to attract attention by launching a similar course of action. It was disturbing to hear that another young lady had taken it upon herself to fast along the same demand. This is not to discourage her stand or conviction but launching a fast just because Sharmila has broken her fast will be doing injustice to her nearly 16 long years of fast against AFSPA. It may amount to saying that if there is no Sharmila to continue the fast, there can be others. Nothing can be more disrespectful to her immense sacrifice than this. Let better counsel prevail. Moreover it is also important to keep in mind that Sharmila launched her unprecedented fast after the infamous Malom massacre and the question is,  is Sharmila ending her fast reason enough for another individual to start a fast ?  If this is the case then nothing can be more tragic. Let no one belittle the nearly 16 years long fast of the iron lady of Manipur. It is also important to keep in mind that there are others who have been campaigning against the continued imposition of the Army Act in the State for years and it is here that everyone need to acknowledge the seriousness of the issue.
That India is keen to continue with the draconian Army Act can be easily seen in the backdrop of the fact that despite the peace process with the NSCN (IM) progressing smoothly, the said Act continues to be imposed in Nagaland. The mass rallies that were staged in the four Naga dominated districts of Manipur on August 11 against the Act should tell a story of its own. The atrocities committed by the men in uniform under the immunity and impunity granted by the said Act are well known to the people and the land. The RIMS massacre, Malom killings, Tonsen Lamkhai incident, Heirangoithong mass killing, the  bullet riddled body of Th Manorama after she was picked up by Assam Rifles personnel are all stories of how men in uniform have been unleashing a reign of terror, all in the name of fighting against forces which pose a threat to the integrity of the country. The reality is after Manipur was brought under the Act in 1980, the number of armed groups seeking to secede from the country has only increased thereby exposing the lie that the Act is needed to neutralise the forces which are against the country. Far from neutralising the armed movement, the Act has only managed to further alienate the people, which has proved detrimental to the country.


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