TODAY -

Fasting for 15 years against AFSPA : Sharmila back in the news
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: October 08 2015 -



Synonymous with the movement against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

So is it Irom Chanu Sharmila or AFSPA which has come back in the news ?

Difficult to say for in many ways Sharmila the crusader has become synonymous with anything that is against the Army act which many have interpreted as being draconian.

And they are not wrong. After all which Act empowers the security personnel to shoot at mere suspicion even to the extent of causing death without being liable for prosecution ?

It was not for nothing why former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had to air dash to Imphal in 2004 and announce the institution of the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee to look into the feasibility of withdrawing the said Act from the soil of Manipur.

The death of Th Manorama may have been the immediate reason for the mass uprising which Manipur witnessed in the summer of 2004, but four years earlier, Sharmila had been at it, waging a lone battle against it.

Fasting for 15 years is not a joke and this is where the extent to which the policy framers of the land are influenced by the military set up lies exposed in all its ugliness.

Largest democracy in the world, India may be but better not to forget that in some parts of the country, such as the North East and Jammu and Kashmir, it is the military might which runs supreme.

A look at the ground reality should reinforce the widely held perception that far from bettering the situation, things have only taken a turn for the worse and it is stupefying to see that the political leadership of the land has not deemed it fit to learn a lesson or two from this.

Sharmila has once again made her mandatory Court appearance in a Delhi Court.

Let the law take its own course, but yet at the same time no one should forget that here is a lady who has not had a morsel of food for 15 years.

Some may argue that she is being nasal fed but has anyone really thought about giving up the experience of eating or tasting ?

It is the conviction which has given her the strength to carry on with her protest for a decade and a half. It is this conviction which should be acknowledged.

As of now there is nothing to suggest that the Government of India is exploring the idea of withdrawing the Act from Manipur or from the North East.

Even in Nagaland, where a solution with the NSCN (IM) may be at hand, there is nothing much to suggest that Delhi may withdraw this Act.

Moreover why should this Act, that too an Act inherited from the British Raj be enforced only in the North East and Jammu and Kashmir ?

It is an Act which has mandated the Army to open fire and kill even on suspicion and at the same time there is also an air of discrimination for it is applied only in some parts of the country.

Wonder how the people would react if the same Act is enforced in some of the trouble torn parts of the country, especially where the law and order situation is not conducive.

To make democracy more meaningful to the people of the North East region and Jammu and Kashmir, the Government would do well to seriously study the recommendations of the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee and making it public may be the first step.



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