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!
  • Origin of Khunchai (Kuki) Tribes
  • Reading a skewed policy
  • Landscape Wallpaper #1 : Download
  • Cooking as professional opportunity
  • A deep sleep :: Poem
  • Musing on ADC Election
  • Election: Prepaid or postpaid ?
  • WW II anniv: Australia, Japan to attend
  • Software Engineer @Cobigent
  • Recruitment at Tashi Interiors
  • Statue of Pukhramba Kajao:: Gallery
  • Headaches after Class XII
  • Shirui Lily blooming #1:: Gallery
  • Nengsuanmang, Tonglen: eMing
  • Bandh against Nagaland #2:: Gallery
  • Dzukou valley: The day after
  • Child protection from sexual offences
  • Unsiko AEKoI, AmuQ :: Seireng
  • Relief trip to Nepal:: Gallery
  • SUNRISE Relief Trip to Nepal
  • Admission counselling centres in NE
  • Private Higher Secondary Schools
  • Centre to create 1L jobs in NE
  • Indecency slur on minister
  • Trapped in security paradigm
  • Wanna eat beef? Go to Pakistan
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Makar Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • Biodiversity for sustainable development
  • Kuknalim in Nagaland; chinky in Delhi
  • The Patriot :: Poem
  • Cruelty Towards Animals #1
  • Bandh against Nagaland #1:: Gallery
  • TR's 1 year in office
  • I-League Pre-Match: Lajong vs Pune
  • Naga insurgents losing steam :Army
  • 8 rebels killed in Manipur
  • Centre clarifies on spl category status
  • Non-sensical culture of VIPsm
  • Water Route to Boroikhal #1:: Gallery
  • Understanding Turmoil
  • GKCA's festival of solo performance
  • NSCNs exchange gunfire
  • Strike in Senapati on 'encroachment'
  • DoNER Ministry's security initiative
  • BioTech Conference @MU:: Gallery
  • Laimang Phamba @Kakwa #2:: Gallery
  • 4Bs of Election Fever
  • Is It :: Poem
  • Diary from Canadian Student #1
  • Technical Jobs(185) at NIELIT
  • Internship on Web Apps @Don Bosco
  • FOSS Training @Assam Don Bosco
  • Keishal: Scenes #1 :: eRang
  • Decaying Manipur health care #5
  • Freedom of Press: From Legal Concept
  • The Headline Story : Poem
  • Tamenglong #43: Wallpaper Download
  • Fire at Noney :: Gallery
  • Memorandum submitted to Kiren Rijiju
  • Rejoinder to R.K. Rajendro
  • Medical/Dental at Annamalai
  • Ethical Fashion Event #2:: Gallery
  • Hmar Student condemns brutal killing
  • Requirements at Kangla Solutions
  • Multiple Job Openings at Mangaal
  • Job Openings at Feerol
  • AirAsia Delhi-Guwahati flight takes off
  • Don't insult us
  • New initiatives taken up by Govt
  • Lairoi @Ereima Ima #1: Gallery
  • Know Your Test- Platelet Count
  • Illegal migrants from neighbour country
  • Aimol Khullen village : Gallery
  • Church and clean election #3
  • EDU-XPO, leap towards education
  • Kanarjit : Global Youth Icon Award
  • AHRC: Police officer brutally assaulted
  • Meghalaya shows the way
  • Defining police brutality
  • Top of Mount Koubru #3 : Gallery
  • CM with Russian Delegates
  • A Wall and A War : Poem
  • Manipur: The land of bandhs
  • Story of Naga People's Struggles #2
  • A Fiasco every now & again
  • Peace Rally at Noney Bazar [14 Apr]
  • State Arts Exhibition #2 : Gallery
  • I-League: Lajong vs Sporting Club Goa
  • Motivational Emptiness
  • Aruna : Dying twice
  • Koireng's affinity with tribes
  • Shri Tomba & Kei :: Gallery
  • Dharma from Buddhism point of view
  • Mob justice, justice on communal lines
  • Pension distributed @Jiri :: Gallery
  • Lean Startup Workshop 2
  • Taxi Drivers reqd at Virgo Cabs
  • Reqts at SKY Hospital
  • Jiribam Vegetable Market :: Gallery
  • Shaping Selective Memories
  • BOSEM and COHSEM keeping time
  • Contemporary Manipuri Short Stories #4
  • Big hearts for big political concessions
  • Statement on the Pallel Firing
  • Jemadar Abdul Hafiz VC (Victoria Cross)
  • Music fest @Santhei #3: Gallery
  • Cultural Forum day:: Gallery
  • Mt Everest 2nd Anniv :: Gallery
  • KRF ki thouwong adu Govt..
  • Everyone will be taken on board: Ravi
  • AAP versus Lt Governor
  • Cauldron of communal tension
  • NH-37 Pathetic Condition :: Gallery
  • World Hypertension Day
  • ADC polls: Road to power devolution
  • Flawed system & lop-sided results
  • Communal accord: Need of the hour
  • Buying Vote is Buying People
  • Has education failed family relationships
  • Living God: Best Documentary @LA
  • Ethical Fashion Event #1:: Gallery
  • All Community Meeting @Jiri:: Gallery
  • Vacancy at YVU Financial
  • Plea to stop communalizing issues
  • Medical camp @Boroikhal :: Gallery
  • Manipur Drama Fest :: Gallery
  • 5th & 6th schedule: Analysis #5
  • Toppers - HSLC Exam :: Gallery
  • Zillai Sports meet @THAU :: Gallery
  • Shri Tomba & Kei :: Play Synopsis
  • Recruitment of Faculty at SAU
  • Cherry Blossom Festival prog launched
  • 'Jewel of Manipuri Cinema' :: Gallery
  • Nagas must win to max possible extent
  • Ravi promises comprehensive deal
  • Curbing Hostility
  • HSLC 2015 : Top 25 Rank Holders
  • HSLC : Statistics / Subject Topper
  • HSLC 2015 : Full Roll No Listing
  • Laimang Phamba @Kakwa:: Gallery
  • Takao Kawaguchi and Manipur
  • Tree plantation @Jiri :: Gallery
  • RRM Kick-off :: Gallery
  • 4th Batch- Free Photography Course
  • Graphic Designer Vacancy
  • Workshop: Takao Kawaguchi @Imphal
  • Sanjenthong still constructing: Gallery
  • Subadar Netrabahadur Thapa VC
  • Revenge #3 :: Story
  • Birchandra Football Academy : Gallery
  • Archived News Photo for year 2015
  • Goura Lila #3 : Gallery
  • Ednn Min @HSE Result : Gallery
  • HSE 2015 : Result / Pass %
  • HSE 2015 : Useful Information
  • HSE 2015 : Science Stream Result
  • HSE 2015 : Commerce Stream Result
  • HSE 2015 : Arts Stream Result
  • Manipuri Sahitya parishad: Gallery
  • Wangkhem Bidyamani : Profile :: eRang
  • Bidyamani : Singer-Photos #1 :: eRang
  • Ithai School protest : Gallery
  • Heloise Rajkumari @Italy: Gallery
  • Tensions at Pallel : Gallery
  • U suba amadi Chaoren : Funga Wari
  • Iroisemba Zoo #2 :: 360 Panorama
  • MRVT&MW Bill- Contents : Gallery
  • Phone Directory :: Govt Officials
  • Laihui presents Hada Shamaton :: Ooba
  • SPONSORED ADS