Irom Sharmila Chanu
JN Hospital Security Ward
Porompat, Imphal – 795005
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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
Student at Punjabi University
Picture that initiated my thought:
Twitter: ( Hashtag: #IromSharmila )