Patriotic People’s Front Assam (PPFA) expresses shock and utter dismay over the unwanted diktat imposed by a section of rebellion elements in Manipur on Irom Sharmila Chanu for her decision to end her hunger strike, join in politics and marry her longtime friend. The forum opines, it looks very odd when those elements instead of showing respect to the fasting lady for her prolonged sacrifice, only wanted to materialize their selfish interest out of Sharmila’s path of agitation.
Mentionable is that Sharmila is on fast since November 2000 raising demands to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from Manipur, the Myanmar bordering northeast Indian State (province). She argued that the security personnel, engaged in her State (including many parts of northeast India and J&K) for counter-insurgency operation, continued taking advantage of AFSPA to kill even civilians with impunity.
The middle aged activist, who remained under arrest for the country’s suicide related laws and put in Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences of Imphal, was nasal-fed by the doctors to keep her alive all the years. Sharmila’s family members used to believe that she was almost half-dead because of unusual food and life-style for long 16 years.
However, her recent declaration that she would end her fast unto death on 9 August 2016, surprised many including those individuals who was supporting her cause. Most of them agreed that it was her individual decision, but some elements in Meitei society came out to publicly criticize Sharmila for her declaration that she would not only end her fast, but also might join in politics and marry.
Sharmila however insisted that she would continue fighting against AFSPA with other political means. She also intended to contest Manipur Assembly polls (as an independent candidate), scheduled for next year, with an aim to fight politically against the draconian laws. Expressing dissatisfaction over terming her a Devi (goddess) by a section of people, Sharmila opted for marriage (with Desmond Coutinho) to lead a normal life.
“It is shocking that some elements of Manipur are relentlessly opposing Sharmila’s decision to end her hunger strike. More appalling, those people even asked the Meitei activist not to contest in any elections and abandon her plan to marry a non-Manipuri national. It is simply ridiculous to impose diktats over Sharmila or any one by anybody,” said a statement issued by PPFA. Sharmila’s decision to end her fast should (must) be respected and nobody can come on her way for a new life, asserted PPFA adding that O. Ibobi Singh led government in Imphal must ensure her protection in the backdrop of the situation and the Manipuri civil societies should come forward raising their voices loud & clear against those elements who dare to prevent an individual from fulfilling one’s personal (legal) will. Issued by Rupam Barua, Nava Thakuria, Pramod Kalita, Jagadindra Raichoudhury, Anup Sarma etc for PPFA