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Support pours for Manipur's fasting activist Sharmila
K Anurag in Guwahati | September 13, 2007 18:09 IST
The global community on Thursday lent support to Irom Sharmila, the Manipur activist who has been fasting since December 2002, in her unrelenting protests against the continued imposition of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 in the insurgency-hit Northeastern Indian states.
A five-day global solidarity fast by people as well rights and social activists began in Manipur's capital Imphal besides at different fora in the United States, United Kingdom, Pakistan and Bangladesh in support of Irom Sharmila as well as Manipuri people's movement against the AFSPA.
A large number of rights activists from outside the Northeast India flocked to Imphal to take in the demonstration as well as the solidarity fast that will continue for five days.
The solidarity demonstration and the fast is being organised by rights activists to attract global glare on unabated human rights violation in the conflict zone of the Northeast by security forces empowered by the AFSPA.
Sharmila, who is now under constant observation of doctors in Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital in Imphal, has been on fast since December 2002 demanding repeal of the AFSPA from her state to prevent violation of human rights by security forces operating against insurgent groups.
The Government of India was yet to repeal the AFSPA which provides unlimited power even to a non-commissioned officer of the security force to shoot a person on suspicion and conduct raids and arrest people sans any warrant, despite recommendations for repeal of the Act by Justice Jeevan Reddy Commission.
Anti-AFSPA demonstrations are being simultaneously held at seven or eight places in the USA, in London [Images], in Pakistan, and in Bangladesh, a spokesman of the movement informed. Rights organisations and NRI groups will be involved in organising these demonstrations. The demonstration at Keisampat in Imphal began at 10 am.
Sharmila's silent but steadfast protests against the AFSPA has already generated support from at least 54 organisations from the country and abroad including four from Pakistan, one from Bangladesh have lent support to the global campaign against the 'black law'.
Hundreds of people including school children and women today participated in the demonstration and solidarity fast in Imphal lending their voice to the protests against the AFSPA.