Letter to #IromSharmila (You are truly an Iron lady with a conscientious decision)

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Irom Sharmila Chanu

JN Hospital Security Ward

Porompat, Imphal – 795005

Manipur

Email: writetosharmila@gmail.com, writetosharmila@hotmail.com

Sub: You are truly an Iron lady with a conscientious decision

I came across your story when I was going through my friend’s updates on social network facebook. It was a picture of yours, annotated with the text telling about ignorance among people regarding your effort. As I was one of those ignorant people, it made me read about AFSPA and the powers it gives to the armed forces. Just after reading the three main points I could figure that this act can certainly violate the human rights.

This act empowers unlimited powers to Security personals to

  1. Fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death, against any person who is acting in contravention of any law” against “assembly of five or more persons” or possession of deadly weapons.
  2. To arrest without a warrant and with the use of “necessary” force anyone who has committed certain offenses or is suspected of having done so
  3. To enter and search any premise in order to make such arrests.

Thus after getting a fair idea about the act, I started reading about your strike. I learned that it started after November 2, 2000, in Malom, Manipur, when ten civilians were allegedly shot and killed by the Assam Rifles.

Though the powers have been given in order to bring back normality in disturbed areas, it has rather been permitting torture, forced disappearances, and extrajudicial executions; as stated by the human rights groups.

It was surprising and abominable to discover that you have been regularly released and re-arrested every year and police has been using nasogastric intubation (force-feeding through nose) forcibly. It is also said that you have been deprived of the basic amenities like internet connection. The stifling and self forgetful existence that you have chosen for yourself is surely a work of an “Iron lady”.

I am sorry about your circumstances and I wish things get better soon. I wonder what force has given you the power to carry out a decade long hunger strike, but now I can see it fluctuating in the activities that have been going on recently. The Save Sharmila campaign has organized various events like street awareness program, cycle rally, signature campaign etc.

It’s good to know that you have got international support as well and people like HM Queen Elizabeth II have written letters to you. This makes me feel even more anxious because, when even the people from outer states are able to understand the situation why haven’t anything been done about it till now.

Right now I am not sure whether the AFSPA should be completely repealed or not, because it has been stated that this might lead to disturbances; but a check should certainly be kept on the activities of armed forces.

Rather, the act can be altered and thus allow prosecution of those officials who go beyond their line of duty. I mean to say that the following line could be emitted from the act to make it more humane:

“– No prosecution, suit or other legal proceeding shall be instituted against any person in respect of anything done or purported to be done in exercise of the powers conferred by this Act.”

Maybe, being a resident of a calm place like Delhi is affecting my thoughts, but this is what I think at my level of cognizance.

May your appeal be heard and acted upon.

Kushal Ashok

Student at Punjabi University

REFERENCES:

Articles:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irom_Sharmila

http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/one-indians-decade-long-hunger-strike

http://www.theweekendleader.com/Crusade/684/Iron-lady.html

http://www.repealafspa.blogspot.com/

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-07-05/guwahati/29738700_1_irom-sharmila-military-act-kongpal-kongkham-leikai

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2506988.ece

Facebook Pages:

https://www.facebook.com/SaveSharmilaCampaign/
https://www.facebook.com/iromsharmila

Facebook Group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/savesharmilacampaign/

Picture that initiated my thought:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2048969225507&set=a.1541642102646.2070495.1282747233

Twitter: ( Hashtag: #IromSharmila )

https://twitter.com/#!/search/%23IromSharmila%20

About AFSPA:
http://mha.nic.in/pdfs/armed_forces_special_powers_act1958.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armed_Forces_(Special_Powers)_Act,_1958

Indian yogi ‘Baba Ramdev’ fasts against corruption

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Image Courtesy: www.bbc.co.uk

A few days back I saw the BBC headline: “Indian yogi Baba Ramdev fasts against corruption.”
Now what image of our country does it draw?

I cannot deny that corruption in India has caused so many problems that people are no longer ready to bear it. Thus, when such strikes are organized the people get to see a ray of hope that maybe, just maybe this time some things will change.

The way I see it, Baba Ramdev is surely a good Yoga educator but when it comes to events like these, it’s perplexing to understand who is telling the truth. I do not understand whether the sympathy people are having for Baba Ramdev is purely based on his effort to evade corruption or they are being hypnotised or something. He sure has a great following due to his remarkable achievements in the field of meditation and Yoga. But this makes it difficult to believe that people who follow him are actually against corruption or do they just want to agree with their hero.

There is controversy in every little statement. Viz. Baba Ramdev says that thousands were injured owing to the wipe off organized by police; while authorities count injured as 30. Now how bad someone’s math can be?

I also heard about the proofs that some harmful events like bomb-explosion were being planned, by those who are always awaiting such opportunities when mass number of people can be affected.

Several upshots like these made it clear that the agitation could not be allowed especially in a city none other than the capital of India; and thus it somehow defends the police action. Moreover, according to reports the tear gas was only being used after the violent agitation by supporters. If this was true, then Baba Ramdev should have just got down from the stage and hand himself over to the police because he was already given a warning on Saturday night. This would have saved the thousands of people who got beaten brutally by the police; according to the contradictory reports.

Now if we assume that all the claims made by Baba Ramdev’s supporters are true, then surely the police’s action cannot be justified at all. Making an announcement is  the foremost thing that is required in such a situation, where there are high chances of stampede. But it is hard to believe that Indian police could have acted like Jallian wala Bagh‘s troops; because for one thing, General Dyer is not alive anymore.

Other than this, the never-ending fight between the two political parties has given this a totally divergent picture. What was supposed to resemble a “satyagrah”, wouldn’t have involved such comments being made by the politicians’ one after the other.

There is a huge difference in the ways of Mr. Anna Hazare (associated with Jan Lokpal Bill) and Baba Ramdev. For instance, the Ramlila Maidan was being booked for carrying out Yoga and not for any agitation. Breaking the rules (under section 144) in the first place made me think more about the ethnicity of this so-called ‘Fight against corruption’.

Wake up dude! We are not being ruled by a foreign company now; the people we are pointing our fingers at are the ones being elected by us only. We the people of India are responsible for its past, present and future.

For me, fighting against corruption is not going on a hunger strike but to eradicate it from the roots whilst we start from the leaves; the leaves that we have watered for our own sakes.

P.S.: All that I have written here is purely based on the knowledge that I received from the news reports. Now we all know about the preciseness of such reports, so maybe the way I am thinking now is also a result of the ideas being implanted in my brain by such manipulated compositions.