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Hunger strike in support of Irom Sanu Sharmila

Assam’s various indigenous tribes and communities unified under Assam Sanmilita MahaSangha (ASM) sat for an 11 hour long sit in hunger strike demonstration outside the Dispur Secretariat today to commiserate with Manipur’s Birangana Irom Sanu Sharmila’s demand to scrap the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958. Iron Lady Sharmila is on indefinite hunger strike since the year 2000 completing 11 years almost to do away with the Black Act.

In a Press Release the MahaSangha stated that the AFSPA 1958 is a direct copy of the British Empire’s 1942 Special Military Power Act. The colonial Britons imposed this Act to suppress India’s Mass Movement of 1942. After the Britons, the Government of free India first imposed this Black Act in the year 1958 to suppress the Naga Retaliation. Currently, this Black Act is in use in the states of Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura and Jammu & Kashmir. According to this act an ordinary constable can shoot down anyone he concludes to be an enemy of the state. Inhuman unhindered murders perpetrated under AFPSA 1958 are still in continuation by a free country’s Police and Armed Forces.

The Government of India under pressure from different Human Rights bodies constituted the Justice Jeevan Reddy Commission and ordered a study report. The Justice Reddy Commission in 147 pages suggested the Government of India to scrap this act. However, the Government of India’s blind eye to the Reddy Commission’s suggestion appears very much ill-fated and condemnable.

Birangana Irom Sanu Sharmila was born on 14th March 1972 in Uripak, Manipur. Her Father Irom Nanda Singh is a fourth grade employee with the State Veterinary Department. Her mother is Irom Angbi Sakhi Devi. Sharmila passed her intermediate from Ibotonsama Higher Secondary School.

On 2nd November 2000 Assam Rifles Jawans in Malam village indiscriminately fired and killed 10 Manipuri youths. Seeing all this 39 year old Sharmila on 5th November 2000 resorted to an indefinite hunger strike at the same spot where the Assam Rifles Jawans killed the 10 youths; her demand, scrapping off of the AFPSA 1958. The very next day on 6th November 2000 the Manipur Government arrested her under 309 IPC but released her finally. Once free, Sharmila continued her hunger strike again. After a decade of repeated arrests and releases, fasting Sharmila at present is under arrest at the Manipur Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital and is being forcibly fed through nozzle drips by the authorities.

ASM Working President said that the Assam Sanmilita MahaSangha (ASM) has been demanding the scrapping off of this act since 2007. 14th March being Sharmila’s birthday the ASM wished her revolutionary greetings and at the same time showing solidarity the ASM along with its members and representatives of the Nikihl Rabha Jatiya Parishad, the All Assam Goriya Moriya Desi Jatiya Parishad, the Kamrup District Manipuri Sahitya Sabha, Meira Paiba to name a few sat in for an 11 hour long hunger strike at Last Gate grounds outside the Dispur Secretariat.

With its 11 hour long sit in hunger strike demo the Assam Sanmilita MahaSangha have communicated its demand-appellate for the repeal of AFPSA 1958 through Assam Chief Minister Shri Tarun Gogoi to the President of India Smt. Pratibha Devi Singh Patil, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Minister for Home Shri. P Chidambaram.

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Syed Miraz Ahmed's picture

Writes, edits and researches. In 2013 he was conferred the Rotary International District 3240 Young Achiever Award for his work in the area of environment and digital journalism. In 2006 he was awarded first in the category of Wildlife Photography by the Department of Environment & Forests and Tourism, Government of Assam.

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