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
  • Phongdoknadringei Scenes #1 : eRang
  • Akhel, Haoginlen, Thyelnaiphom: eMing
  • Resolve border dispute thru tribunal
  • 60% Northeast families landless
  • Manipur Budget 2015-16
  • Merchant navy
  • Demand for inclusion of Meetei in ST
  • Mangfaonahange : Poem
  • Condemns move to close Govt School
  • Multiple openings at NEEPCO
  • ILP: Student Clash :: Gallery
  • Cartography & territoriality
  • Abolition fate for Bengali Schools
  • Khong-Kaap : Biggest of Maring festival
  • DGP recapitulates 'counter insurgency'
  • Sonia: A star rooted to the ground
  • The wounded healers - II
  • Daughters-in-law #4 :: Story
  • What is the Confusion ?
  • Grievances Faced by Power Consumers
  • MDAVO objection to Thoubal IFCD
  • PM reviews NE road projects
  • All constituents have equal say: Paresh
  • ILP rally @Kwakeithel:: Gallery
  • Crime against women & mediation
  • Gangmumei Kamei: More than a Professor
  • Kakching Lai Haraoba #1:: Gallery
  • Founder of Mahabodhi temple-Asoka #1
  • Decaying Manipur health care -6
  • Parents-foundation of our societies
  • James Riamei has his way
  • lEna Amdadi yeNniH :: Seireng
  • Mission Blind School Protest:: Gallery
  • Free OPD, Blood Donation at ASHRI
  • Central letter to Manipur wrt. 6th Schedule
  • Therie suggests Jamir-Keishing formula
  • June 4: Insurgents had prior info
  • Flouting rules become the norm
  • Has prohibition really worked ?
  • ILP: Protest rally #1:: Gallery
  • National Doctor's Day: 1st July
  • Democracy and Nagaland
  • Dynamics of Homosexuality in Manipur
  • Kuki insurgency of Indo-Myanmar #3
  • Great June Uprising #4:: Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit Demand :: Timeline
  • Governor's Junior Tennis :: Gallery
  • Involvement of Police of Violations of Law
  • Rs 1 Lac cr for road network in NE
  • Conserving the breed
  • Blockade : More than seven days
  • Ngaimu Village, Ukhrul :: Gallery
  • Chandel & question of civilian protection
  • Nupi Shamaj Foundation Day:: Gallery
  • ..Music of Conches Blowing : Poem
  • Heartfelt appreciation to AMAND
  • Budget 2015-16 : The revealed priorities
  • Artina: Imphal to Chennai & back
  • Front Desk Executive @Raj Medicity
  • Writing on the wall
  • Keeping the ADCs in cold storage
  • Artificial floods @Imphal :: Gallery
  • Stamped on Scripture's Pages
  • Discrimination; Manipur Govt response
  • Insurgency and counterinsurgency #2
  • Wisps of fragrance :: Poem
  • Dr Kishan memorial lecture :: Gallery
  • DASDM (Diploma) at C-DAC Silchar
  • NE militancy claims over 600 lives
  • Spinning for a bigger vision
  • On common policy for Pvt Schools
  • Tembalaithak :: Funga Wari
  • War tourism
  • JNMDA's journey of sixty years
  • The wounded healers - I
  • Manipuri Poetry in Gujarati : Download
  • Chadong Village now lake.. :: Gallery
  • DM's Episode 8: Media-Career [Upd]
  • Magnitude! Concert for Nepal [Upd]
  • International Day against Drug Abuse
  • Arunachal Univ to curb drug menace
  • Two Olympic medals possible: Sarita
  • Keishal: Scenes #4 :: eRang
  • Counter blockade @Seigang :: Gallery
  • Voices From The Valley : Poem
  • Imphal Roots Rock Reggae #2:: Gallery
  • Report Of Torture In Manipur : Download
  • Can stop smoking! Replace nicotine #2
  • RIST-13: Plasmonic Research @MU
  • UN Day in support of victims of torture
  • AR assault and shoot upon villagers
  • Condemn inhumane acts at Kohima
  • IIT Guwahati Model United Nations
  • Zeliang rejects help on Dzukou
  • Manipur lawyers to aid NE in Delhi
  • Bomb Blast @Paona Bazaar:: Gallery
  • DU admission: Absurd, unbelievable
  • Customary law of murder: Zeliangrong #3
  • Great June Uprising #3:: Gallery
  • 4th Lai Haraoba festival #4 :: Gallery
  • Ethnic Churning: CHIKUMI Style #5
  • Time to develop our lives..without drugs
  • Behind army's 'surgical strike'
  • Withdrawal of MRVT&MW Bill: JCIPLS
  • Military Siege of villages at Chandel
  • Thrill is Gone, Tribute to BB King
  • Distortion of means & ends
  • Time for Kohima, Imphal to act
  • Haolenphai, Myanmar border :: Gallery
  • Sammi: Negotiating Talents; Nurturing Soul
  • Of Media, defamation & legal convention
  • Open Letter to CM regarding ST demand
  • Rejoinder to DC, Churachandpur
  • Mathematics Faculty reqd @Nirmaan
  • Discovery- Aizawl, CCpur & Imphal #2
  • Counter blockade @Moidangpok:: Gallery
  • Economic blockade @Pallel:: Gallery
  • Petrol price soars to 140/litre
  • Recruit NE constables for Delhi
  • Of castes, tribes and communities
  • The Paraolon ambush aftermath
  • Shirui Lily blooming #3:: Gallery
  • Farcical face of the MPSC
  • Protest against Mapithel Dam:: Gallery
  • Preparing Rath @Puri:: Gallery
  • Andro Girls Soccer Village 2027 Campaign
  • AICC Helpline Numbers Launched
  • Research Associate at Germany
  • B.Tech/B.Arch @NIT, Manipur [Upd]
  • Manipur mulls law to ban strikes
  • NE girls Hostel on Bangalore University
  • Splurging on yoga
  • Poison in the food one eats !
  • Kuki-Chin insurgency of Indo-Myanmar #1
  • Ngairamge Eina Nangbu :: Radio
  • Rural infrastructure & agriculture
  • Yoga benefits in longevity
  • Ithou Chille : Poem
  • Paraolon Village Deserted #2:: Gallery
  • Intl Day of Yoga @Pune:: Gallery
  • CPO appeal to SAPO, Mao Council
  • Covering Retaliatory Actions
  • Blockade : An annual affair
  • Samjetsabam Sarjubala : Profile
  • Imphal Roots Rock Reggae #1:: Gallery
  • Music Lovers Humane act:: Gallery
  • 'International Day of Yoga' Observed
  • State will have role in Naga talks
  • Post ADC poll trouble
  • Making a beeline for Manipur
  • Customary law of murder: Zeliangrong #2
  • Paraolon Ambush- Khunthak :: Gallery
  • Discovery- Aizawl, CCpur & Imphal #1
  • Meira Katpa - June 18 :: Gallery
  • WW II fierce battles in Manipur #2
  • Paraolon Ambush - Moltuk :: Gallery
  • June 18 uprising & 18 great souls
  • Paraolon- Damaged vehicles #2:: Gallery
  • Great June Uprising #2:: Gallery
  • Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial
  • Mission to Chandel :: Report
  • The Great June 18 Uprising
  • Landscape Wallpaper #4 : Download
  • Admission Nominees for Hyderabad Univ
  • Paraolon Villagers taking shelter:: Gallery
  • Khunung Eshei Fest #3:: Gallery
  • Takao Kawaguchi : An Interview
  • Takao Kawaguchi Dance #2 :: Gallery
  • ADC Election Final Results
  • Robert N @Kerala Fashion:: Gallery
  • Makar Scenes #3 :: eRang
  • Condolences @Tuhilal Airport :: Gallery
  • Lalthlamuong Keivom :: Profile
  • Mitrangi Fal : Funga Wari
  • CAU Gate :: 360 Panorama
  • Bidyamani : Singer-Photos #1 :: eRang
  • MRVT&MW Bill- Contents : Gallery
  • Phone Directory :: Govt Officials
  • Laihui presents Hada Shamaton :: Ooba
  • SPONSORED ADS