Stand against AFSPA continues Ending 16 years fast


Ending the fast. But stand against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act continues (AFSPA) and will continue. This is the stand of Irom Chanu Sharmila, who ended her historic 16 years fast with a taste of honey on August 9. While some have welcomed her decision to call off the fast, others have questioned it. A reflection that down the years, Sharmila had become synonymous with the movement against the continued imposition of AFSPA in the State and the North East region. The same Act is also imposed in Jammu and Kashmir. The question is whether the movement against AFSPA will get diluted now, for the fact stands that for 16 long years, Sharmila was the rallying point against the Army Act and this was primarily due to her fast, which was a protest against the said Act. Enough has been written about how she started her fast and the question is whether she can continue to rally the people around her cause by joining electoral politics. Early days yet but in changing tact, Sharmila is sounding the message that since her marathonesque fast has refused to move the Government, the time has come to see if something more concrete can be done from within. This may be a long shot, but again this should awaken the people to the reality that when they vote, they do need to vote with a clear mind. The question is whether Sharmila will be able to make the Army Act the main issue when the State goes for the Assembly election next year.
From fasting to the ballot box or rather the EVM. This is the track that Sharmila has chosen to take and yes while there are many who may feel let down by her decision, all need to keep in mind that Sharmila is also an individual, a living individual with her own mind and likes and dislikes. This is where the stand of Just Peace Foundation needs to be noted. Sharmila may have ended her fast, but she still has not given up her stand against the continued imposition of AFSPA and this is a point which should be acknowledged. Much before Sharmila began her fast in 2000, the people have been staunchly against the said Act and there is no reason why the stand of the people should get diluted now. This is the best way to acknowledge the 16 years long fast of Sharmila. Let efforts be made to draw more and more international focus on AFSPA and let it also become the focal point of every election in the State. As stated earlier, it will be wrong to say that Sharmila has thrown in the towel, for she has already delivered a powerful point. It is this which should not be lost on anyone.


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