As for Indians, the Iron Lady of India is former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. But as for me that title suits better to Ms. Irom Sharmila. Here, I don’t deny Indira Gandhi’s efforts or degrade her.. But as for my opinion, Irom Sharmila is far more better and great when compared to few others. Are you thinking what’s so great with her?? I seriously hope you will not think so and I really believe that you know her and her cause she’s fighting for.. for the past 14 years.. Hunger Strike for more than 14 years…
Can we imagine that doing ourselves? No right?? But she is doing.. And will you decline calling her as “Iron Lady” .. Don’t..
Now coming for the reason for her strike, she’s in strike against a rule imposed by Army in the North Eastern states..(to put it in simple words).. Now wondering what that rule is and why she is against that??
The rule is named as AFSPA which stands out for Armed Forces Special Power Act.. This act is a law with just six sections granting special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in what the act terms as “disturbed areas”. This act was passsed in 11 September 1958..
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 judgement 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
No wonder people are against this act right??? Who can bear such laws laid in their place? I can’t .. Can you??
Now, let’s see when and why she started her fasting …
On 2 November 2000, in Malom (Manipur), ten civilians were shot and killed.. All they did was to wait for bus at the bus stop. So why were they shot? There was a bomb attack on an AR convoy.. Following the explosion, the AR troops got down from their vehicles and began firing towards people who were running for cover.. These innocents were just at the bus stop.. This included a 62 year old woman, who wouldn’t have even imagined her death this way.. Poor lady.. What a horrible death she had..
Irom Sharmila who heard this incident, began to fast in protest of the killing, taking neither food nor water.. Three days after she began her strike, she was arrested by the police and charged with an “attempt to commit suicide”, which was unlawful under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at that time, and was later transferred to judicial custody. Her health continued to fall and the police started feeding her against her will through nasogastric tube.. She is fed that way till this very moment…
It’s been 14 years and still the fast continues and also the AFSPA rule.. She has not met her mother since the start of the fast as seeing her mother’s anguish may break her resolve. She said “The day AFSPA is repealed I will eat rice from my mother’s hand.” I really look forward for that day.. The mother has to meet her child.. Imagine the horribleness for a parent to look at their children’s pictures for years together even though they are alive.. 😦 😦
On 5 November 2014, Irom Sharmila entered in 15th year of her hunger strike…
One drop of happiness to her is that AFSPA has been repealed from Tripura on May 28, 2015…This success is just a drop in a bucket full of water .. The whole bucket needs to be gushed out…
No more curfews.. No more assassinations… No more fear… No more human rights violations… No more unrestrained barbaric activities…
We all stand with you Sharmila… We may not be with you physically but our thoughts stay with you always.. !!!