TODAY -

Irom Sharmila Hope Personified

N. Birbal Singh *

Paintings on Spirit of Sharmila :: Neogene Artists
A Painting on the Spirit of Sharmila by Neogene Artists



"I cannot be a mere spectator when my fellowmen are being cold murdered by the law itself", this must be the thought that must have struck Irom Chanu Sharmila's mind when the massacre at Malom (about 15 Kilometers to the south-west of Imphal) happened. It struck the public with horror, but the wound was felt much deeper in the heart of this poet.

The massacre, a brutal response to the failed attack by insurgents on a patrol party, killed 10 civilians waiting for bus at a waiting shed. Those innocents would have never imagined their destination awaiting them as they wait for their bus. The AFSPA has made an indelible impression to the mindset of the over-armed forces deployed in Manipur that they can get away with committing heinous crime.

The armed forces are not just armed with killing machines, but also the license (AFSPA) to kill with impunity. This event turn out to be the turning point for this brave soul who must have never thought or wish her struggle to last as long as it has lasted. The event provided the necessary spark to the volatile fuel accumulated ever since the imposition of the Act in the state.

Gritty Sharmila was always an activist at heart, it has always been in her blood, for she have always shown undiluted passion and have always dedicated herself for social causes much before her current steadfast stand. A poet who idolizes Mahatma Gandhi and also a staunch supporter of Non-violence, Sharmila is never disheartened by the numerous imprisonments on charge of attempting to commit suicide.

Since the initial days of AFSPA in force, the conduct of the armed forces have always been mired in controversies over wrongful detention, doubtful disappearances, fake encounters that killed more civilians than insurgents, torture of innocents, and not what?

While she had been questioning and protesting the inhuman conduct of the armed forces via the AFSP Act, the Malom incident brought to her realization that the issue was much graver for mere protestation to be employed to attract the state's attention and bring justice for the sidelined population. She was arrested many times on charge of attempting to commit suicide by the police. The state police, little realizing that killing innocents people merits imprisonment for life, arrested her for trying to save the lives of people and their basic fundamental rights.

Sharmila occasionally change the venue of her non-violent protest from her home state to the power mint of the country, in the capital of the world largest democracy, to reiterate her stand against the Act, but only to realize the futility. She has been recognized all over the world for her courage, determination and optimism, but, is yet to attract the attention and thoughts of power wielding people who mattered.

In the last decade, violent protestation, that includes Manipuri mothers parading naked, complementing the cause of Sharmila's struggle, have rocked the state. False promises has been made, and the most ironic of them being the setting up of the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee to study the utility of the imposition of the AFSPA 1958 in Manipur.

The setting up of the committee, post the Manorama incident, is beyond the comprehension of the common man, for, the government who themselves recommended it didn't care to accept the outcome of the study. The problem of insurgency is only getting worse with the medication prescribed by the state.

The state of affairs in the present scenario strongly warrants an analytical diagnosis and an ideal antidote. While India projects itself as a nation benevolent to its citizens, imposition of controversial Act like the AFSPA, that deprives citizens of their basic fundamental rights, is a dark spot on the sanctity of democratic institutions.

In recognition to her persistent endeavor for delivery of justice to the less fortunate people of Manipur, the other North-eastern states and Jammu & Kashmir for that matter, the international community had conferred awards and expressed solidarity.

Recently, a symposium titled "11 Year Hunger Strike: Irony in the World's Largest Democracy (Report and picture here and here" was held at Harvard University, USA. The symposium on AFSPA and Irom Sharmila, held for the first time in the U.S., highlights the ironic reality of the draconic Act being imposed against certain section of the population in the world largest democracy in the world.

Furthermore, the 'Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign' plans to stage a nation-wide dharna on the 6th of April, 2012 to reinvigorate Irom Sharmila's selfless demand for revocation of AFSPA. Supported by eighty different organizations from different states of India, the nation-wide dharna will be staged simultaneous all across the country.

Even as this more-than-decade old protest gains more visibility and even more widespread support from the general populace, what matter more would be a serious consideration towards the validity and reason of the controversial act from the government's end which is pending. The United Nations Human Rights Committee, highlighting the violations of international human rights norms through the act strongly urged India to repeal the inhumane act. India made optimum use of the principle of state sovereignty and paid no heed to those appeals.

Firmly believing that real peace comes through justice, she continues her relentless effort in pursuit of justice that is so far elusive. It is unfortunate that her extraordinary fight has no major tangible benefits to offer, except hope, to the violently suppressed people. However it may not be denied that her dedication is drawing attention of the international community, encouraged the people of Manipur in particular and India as a whole in general, and has been sustaining the protest against AFSPA.

The campaign against Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958 seems to be regaining momentum once again and an all out effort should be made till justice is delivered to the less fortunate citizens of Jammu & Kashmir and Northeast India. Better late than never, the people and civil society organization should now come together, well coordinated, and raise a chorus loud enough for the hard-hearing government to hear.


* N. Birbal Singh contributes to e-pao.net for the first time
The writer is based in Delhi and works in the developmental sector and can be contacted at birbalsinghn(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was webcasted on March 09, 2012.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Playing blockade politics ahead of polls
  • Keibul Lamjao- Drama Fest #1: Gallery
  • Anti-economic blockade protest: Gallery
  • Sadar Hills Demand 2011-2017 : Timeline
  • Becoming a rights defender
  • Grave situation for people of Manipur
  • Kaladan: A sea gate for India's NE!
  • What meaning is there to life from Buddha
  • 45th Manipur Statehood Day
  • Kakching Lamkhai :: 360 View Panorama
  • Leiteng Changdamnaba: Gallery
  • Letter to PM Modi on UNC Blockade
  • Chakaan Gaan-Ngai, Zeliangrong fest #1
  • Election Code: Short Film Competition
  • The casuality of tie with suit
  • The Naked Reality :: Poem
  • Jobs at Ascend Institute, Lambulane
  • Students Admission in private school
  • Civil Engineer to be stationed in Manipur
  • Training & Rehearsal Programme on EVM
  • NE has potential to push medical systems
  • Film to be screened at Berlin film fest
  • The hopeless future
  • Khoupum Valley & Cave #3 : Gallery
  • Neroca FC kit distribution : Gallery
  • Gita-Govinda : Synopsis of Play
  • BJP vs Congress: Setting the right agenda
  • The Northeast migrants in Delhi #1
  • Economic blockade : Why it matters?
  • Intensifying Global Crisis & Conflict #3
  • EVM / VVPAT familiarization Campaign
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Inadvertently strengthening Cong : Election
  • Timely action
  • USPA Vs Manipur : Women's Polo #1: Gallery
  • Combing operation @Thangal Bazar: Gallery
  • Gaan Ngai @ Namguilong #2: Gallery
  • Atonna, Chanaphul, Morungkham :: eMing
  • Kabuliwallah : Synopsis of Play
  • On MCSCCE-2016 : Open letter to MPSC
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • The Fruit :: Poem
  • Zeliang asked to step in
  • Ensuring Nagaland State Diversity Policy
  • Director of Education(S) : admission norms
  • Election Code : Facilities for Observers
  • Issuing invite to UNC for talks
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #1: Gallery
  • Keibul Lamjao - Play synopsis
  • This Way, That way or Highway
  • Significance of Gaan-Ngai festival #3
  • Bandhs and blockades of Manipur
  • A Boat on the River :: Poem
  • RIST talk 25: Dynamics of Deep Eutectics
  • Election Model Code : Requisition of Staff
  • General Body Meeting of CADA
  • Germany hosts 35 soccer players
  • LDFM likely to play key role
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Time to make AFSPA a poll issue
  • Politics in Manipur
  • Meiteilon Folk & Tangkhul duet : Ooba
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #3: Gallery
  • How to be unique among private schools
  • The measuring Tape :: Poem
  • Points On Election Manifesto in Manipur #4
  • HSE examination Schedule 2017
  • HSLC examination Schedule 2017
  • Election Code : Use of school Grounds
  • Public hearing on Child Rights- Postphoned
  • TSA DJ Celebration Committee Formed
  • Lecture : Democratic Transition in Burma
  • Mary Kom- needs to tackle insurgency
  • Group seeks global support
  • Not the time to pass the buck
  • Lamkhunu Na Chakkouba :: Funga Wari
  • Gaan Ngai @Moirangkhom #1: Gallery
  • Gaan Ngai @Ragailong #2: Gallery
  • Ever smiling Prof Gangmumei
  • Buddhism and politics #2
  • Election Model Code : Use of Loudspeakers
  • Election Model Code : Govt. Scheme
  • Interaction of President Of India
  • Mohammedan signs Reisangmei Vashum
  • Rs. 6.95 lakh cash in new notes seized
  • Dos and don'ts for the media
  • Sanamanbi Sanarei :: eRang Classic
  • Angkor Wat @Cambodia #3: Gallery
  • Kappu Ema Kapsi Penna Ngasidi : Poem
  • ESC for PG Course, MU- abnormal case
  • The old mental baggage
  • Buddhist connection of Hajo in Assam
  • Sadar Hills District Demand :: Articles
  • Women Support Centre launched in Delhi
  • Power of the commoners
  • Gaan Ngai @ Namguilong #1: Gallery
  • Chinglen Nongdrenkhomba #2: Gallery
  • Jangled all the way with Jiangam
  • 2nd Statehood Women Polo Tournament
  • Polo tour to protect rare breed of pony
  • What do Nagas think about Nagas?
  • RIST talk 24: Cosmological Observations
  • Appointment of Director of IGNTU-RCM
  • Alleged Torture of Gaidon Kamei
  • Non-indigenous Nagas filing nominations
  • Key issues missing in run up to polls
  • Assumption but it is possible
  • Lamlong Keithel #5 : Gallery
  • Sonia Nepram bags Young Achiever Award
  • Human Rights in India: UN periodic review III
  • Indian NGOs slam India's human rights
  • God Loves You All The More :: Poem
  • My maiden sojourn of enchanting NE #2
  • Summary Of Electoral Rolls Released
  • Jobs Opening @ Virgo Enterprise
  • Jobs Opening @ Taibang Sintha
  • Questioning the silence of Delhi
  • Political pandemonium: opportunity ...
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #2: Gallery
  • Puthiba Haraoba @Tripura : Gallery
  • Prof Irabanta in the galaxy of Aerobiologist
  • The Naga question
  • Judicious Selection Of Candidates
  • Your financial health
  • Youth Street News 2017 Calendar released
  • Voter Awareness Activities: 11 MLA Election
  • Rijiju blames Manipur govt for eco-blockade
  • Thang-ta fights for recognition
  • Incomplete idea of India as a Nation
  • Unfulfilled promises Who should be blamed
  • Gaan Ngai @ Ragailong #1: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Significance of Gaan-Ngai festival #1
  • Milk hygiene practice in India
  • Goa International Youth Football Fest
  • 4th WIM Cup 2016 at Goa
  • Fresh impetus to Naga talks
  • Pulling up sleeves before election
  • The public: more than mere numbers
  • Reinterpreting Anglo-Kuki War, 1917-1920
  • Chinglen Nongdrenkhomba #1: Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai: Zeliangrong Fest :: Flash
  • Gaan-Ngai: Zeliangrong Festival :: Articles
  • Blockade and bandh bonanzas
  • Tangkhul Welfare Society Mumbai - Stmt
  • Model Code of Conduct: Discretionary Fund
  • Binalakshmi Nepram meets Thant Myint-U
  • From goods trucks to passenger buses
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #1: Gallery
  • A Hymn for Goddess Emoinu
  • All about Gaan-Ngai : Gangmumei Kamei
  • Follow The Code And Go To Vote :: Poem
  • State level Manipuri Pony Show
  • Model Code of Conduct : Republic Day
  • Verdict of the Court says guilty
  • Khoupum Valley & Cave #1 : Gallery
  • Manipur Press Club day : Gallery
  • Prof. Gangmumei Kamei: Personal Tribute
  • Thought on current situation in Manipur
  • My maiden sojourn of enchanting NE #1
  • My New Year :: Poem
  • Transformation of govt into governance #3
  • Fresh proposal for tripartite talk
  • Discussion on Manipur today & tomorrow
  • Painting Competition - Voters Day
  • Requisites for a fresh start
  • Prof Gangmumei Kamei Funeral: Gallery
  • Points On Election Manifesto in Manipur #1
  • Clean Rolls For Fair Poll : Poem
  • Can BJP deny Okram Ibobi a 4th term
  • Every day is a New Year's day
  • Foundation Day of Manipur Press Club
  • PG Course in Plastic Surgery at Shija
  • Election Expenditure monitoring measure
  • Board for issue of Disability Certificate
  • ILP System Demand- Photos from 2012
  • Workshop on Digital Payment Systems
  • KNLF merges with UKLF
  • Fmr. Minister son convicted in murder case
  • Priyanka Rajkumari #2 (Photos) :: eRang
  • Khunung Eeshei/ Ema Emoinu #3 : Radio
  • New Year picnic @Sekmai #2: Gallery
  • Daylight Robbery In Manipur
  • Ibobi lost control over his own creation
  • NABH certifies Shija Hospitals
  • CEO Notice on Poll Model Code of Conduct
  • Promotion of payment through Digital mean
  • Condolence for Prof Gangumei Kamei
  • Highway siege hits fuel prices
  • Parties spar over crisis
  • Recalling the Oja in Prof Kamei
  • When election subsides major issues
  • Pana Polo Exhibition #2: Gallery
  • Assembly Election : Poll Schedule
  • Wild edible plants & indigenous fruits
  • Possible reasons for creation of new district
  • Who says there is no hope for Manipur
  • New Year message for 2017
  • Shillong Lajong FC : Complete Team List
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • New Year picnic @Singda : Gallery
  • Diana Khumanthem- IAS candidate: Gallery
  • UNC prez judicial custody [Jan 2]: Gallery
  • 'Goals for Girls' USA visited Andro Team
  • New Year picnic @Sekmai #1: Gallery
  • Online 2017 Manipuri Calendar :: Tools
  • A brand new year! :: Poem
  • Featured Front Page Photo for 2016 #6
  • New Year 2017 eve -Shopping: Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2017 : Download
  • Maphou Dam @ Mapithel Hills : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2016 #4 : Gallery
  • Ethoi Oinam - Actress Profile :: eRang
  • Journalists protest [Dec 27] : Gallery
  • 60th CC Meet Final #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur Sangai Festival : Photos from 2012
  • Moirangthem Rajen : Akademi Award
  • Landscape of Manipur #3: Wallpaper
  • 60th CC Meet Semifinal #2 : Gallery
  • 60th CC Meet Semifinal #1 : Gallery
  • Police personnel ambushed : Gallery
  • Honour to police killed : Gallery
  • Imas from Nupi Lan: Gallery
  • Diana Khumanthem (IAS candidate)
  • Manipur Phone Directory :: e-pao Tools
  • SPONSORED ADS