TODAY -

Delhi wakes up to anti-AFSPA march
Source: Hueiyen News Service

New Delhi, March 30 2014: As part of an effort to create a political pressure for repeal of AFSPA in this election season, an anti-AFSPA rally was taken out from Mandi House metro station to Jantar Mantar here today.

The rally was organised jointly by Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign, AISA, AIPWA, RYA, DSF, JNUSU, NEFIS, Voices against 377, NAPM and Right to water campaign.

After the rally, a sit-in protest meeting was also held at Jantar Mantar where many people spoke out against prolong imposition of Armed Forces Special Powers Act which gives unrestrained power to personnel of Armed Forces in the Northeastern States and Jammu & Kashmir.

Among those who spoke, Ravi Nitesh of Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign (SSSC) pointed out that the draconian and inhuman law of AFSPA has been in existence for almost 60 years now and Irom Sharmila has been on a hunger-strike for 14 years but the Government has remained unbothered.

It has not taken any steps to even talk to her.

Almost all major parties in the country have been silent about the everyday horror in these states.

But through our rally, we will try to challenge this silence.

Devika Mittal, a DU student and core member of Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign, said that while all political parties are talking about development, secularism and corruption, they must know that all these claims and promises hold no meaning in AFSPA affected states.

There can be no development in AFSPA affected states without the revocation of AFSPA.

AFSPA is also the face of corruption in these states.

Rupam, a DU student from Assam, stated that the promise of a better future is intertwined with the repeal of AFSPA from these states.

You cannot ignore this issue.

Repeal of AFSPA is the only way forward.

It is the only way forward for a better India.

V Arun Kumar, a student and member of AISA, talked about the other efforts that were taken.

In efforts to urge political parties to take up this issue of AFSPA, an open letter issued by Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign and endorsed by many human rights' activists and organizations across the country was written to political parties including AAP, Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress, left parties, regional parties of Jammu & Kashmir and North-east.

We had also requested academicians and columnists to write on this issue in newspapers to highlight this issue, he disclosed.

Anubhuti from JNUSU talked about the human rights' violations enabled by AFSPA and recounted the mass-rape case of Kunan Poshpora, brutal rape and murder of Manorama Devi and other cases that the democracy carries.

Ram Mohan Rai, Social activist from Haryana, talked about how AFSPA is anti-democractic and everyone who believes in democracy must speak out against it.

Rituparna from Voices against 377 talked about how this law challenges the notions of equality, democracy and justice.

Students from Kashmir and North-east also shared their experiences of living under the shadow of AFSPA and other similar State-repressive laws.

During the protest session, the Irom Sharmila scholarship that has been set up in the honour of Irom Chanu Sharmila and is granted to a post-graduate student who comes from an area with internal armed conflict was also awarded.

It was awarded by Dr.Deepti Priya Mehrotra, author of 'Burning Bright - Irom Sharmila and the struggle for peace in Manipur and Deepti Sharma of Saheli to Seram Rojesh, a PhD student of Delhi School of Economics.

Rojesh is from the AFSPA affected state of Manipur and he has been highlighting the issue both through his research works and activism.

Neha Tickoo, an artist, also presented a poetry-dance performance on the struggle and cause of Irom Sharmila on the occasion.


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