Irom Sharmila Chanu (born 14 March 1972), also known as the “Iron Lady of Manipur” or “Mengoubi” (“the fair one”) is a civil rights activist, political activist, and poet from the Indian state of Manipur. On 2 November 2000, she began a hunger strike which is still ongoing. Having refused food and water for more than 500 weeks, she has been called “the world’s longest hunger striker”. She is currently on trial for attempted suicide. On International Women’s Day, 2014 she was voted the top woman icon of India by MSN Poll.
“Her fast is for the life, and not against life in anyway, also it is for the society and not for any personal reason. With the interim relief, Government must order to remove charges of 309 (attempt to suicide case) from New Delhi and Manipur and must set her free to meet people like any normal citizen can,” it said.
“Also, as everyone has some expectation from change of government, SSSC appeal to the Govt of India to take concern of the plight of common people of Manipur who had also showed their trust in govt by their vote and that on the reasons of ‘justice’ as well as for ‘welfare’ and ‘trust building’, it must repeal AFSPA at the earliest.”
“Sharmila was produced in heavy security of police and most of the supporters were not allowed to enter the court room,” it continued.
“During the lunch break, with the help of advocates, Irom Sharmila was allowed to meet her supporters and media. Members of her support groups including SSSC (Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign), MSAD and NEFIS were there. Chinglen from NEFIS talked to her rergarding the struggle and that they are all with the truth. Prof. V.P. Srivastava, Mahtab Alam and members of SSSC had talked to her in general and expressed their solidarity with her and also briefed her about the ongoing events to strengthen the voice in support of her and against AFSPA.”(ARMED FORCES SPECIAL POWER ACT).
“I don’t want to commit suicide. I want to have my constitutional rights. I am demanding fundamental rights. India doesn’t apply the Constitutional norms in the North East. It is discrimination and racism,” said Irom Sharmila at the end of her court appearance before the Metropolitan Magistrate at Patiala House, New Delhi Wednesday, informed a source.
Sharmila was produced before the magistrate in connection with a case filed by the Delhi Police of Parliament Street, New Delhi against her for holding a hunger-strike at Jantar Mantar in the national capital in 2006 charging her of attempt to commit suicide.
According to a source, Sharmila started her speech, “I want to say something here,” and continued with her above statement leaving the judge somewhat stunned to reply.
However, metropolitan Magistrate Judge Akash Jain replied, “I understand what you said, but I cannot comment on that. I can only deal with the case.”
The anti-AFSPA crusader who has been on a hunger strike since November 2, 2000 left Imphal on May 27 by an Indigo flight accompanied by a doctor, a nurse of the JNIMS and one personnel each of the jail and Manipur Police.
The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), is an Act of the Parliament of India which was passed on September 11, 1958. It is a law with just six sections granting special powers to the armed forces in what the act terms as “disturbed areas”. Although the usefulness of the act has been universally acknowledged in particular for stabilizing the Kashmir valley and maintaining peace, the Act has received criticism from several sections for alleged concerns about human rights violations in the regions of its enforcement, where arbitrary killings, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and enforced disappearances have alleged to have happened.
Armed Forces Special Powers (Assam and Manipur) Act, 1958.
Armed Forces (Special Powers) ACT.
According to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), in an area that is proclaimed as “disturbed”, an officer of the armed forces has powers to:
After giving such due warning, Fire upon or use other kinds of force even if it causes death, against the person who is acting against law or order in the disturbed area for the maintenance of public order,
Destroy any arms dump, hide-outs, prepared or fortified position or shelter or training camp from which armed attacks are made by the armed volunteers or armed gangs or absconders wanted for any offence.
To arrest without a warrant anyone who has committed cognizable offences or is reasonably suspected of having done so and may use force if needed for the arrest.
To enter and search any premise in order to make such arrests, or to recover any person wrongfully restrained or any arms, ammunition or explosive substances and seize it.
Stop and search any vehicle or vessel reasonably suspected to be carrying such person or weapons.
Any person arrested and taken into custody under this Act shall be made over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station with the least possible delay, together with a report of the circumstances occasioning the arrest.
Army officers have legal immunity for their actions. There can be no prosecution, suit or any other legal proceeding against anyone acting under that law. Nor is the government’s judgment on why an area is found to be disturbed subject to judicial review.
Protection of persons acting in good faith under this Act from prosecution, suit or other legal proceedings, except with the sanction of the Central Government, in exercise of the powers conferred by this Act.
For declaring an area as a ‘disturbed area’ there must be a grave situation of law and order on the basis of which Governor/Administrator can form opinion that an area is in such a disturbed or dangerous condition that use of Armed Forces in aid of civil power is necessary.
Irom sharmila has not eaten anything for the last 13 years and is on forced diet. Kudos to this IRON LADY who has sacrificed her whole life to oppose the draconian law to save her people from atrocities like we faced in Punjab. We stand next to her and give her full support i holy cause of humanity. We salute her for her kind efforts to aware people.
Ajmer Singh Randhawa.