On November 4, 2011, Manipuri poet Irom Sharmila Chanu’s hunger fast completed 11 years. She has not touched water or food during this period and she has been force-fed through nose and has been charged for attempt to commit suicide. No man or woman in the history of any struggle anywhere in the world has ever gone through such a long, consistent period of hunger fast. Hence, Irom Sharmila Chanu has today become a unique symbol of struggle for justice.
Bangalore, 22nd May 2011
SOLIDARITY MARCH FOR THE REPEAL of AFSPA AND RELEASE OF IROM SHARMILA
Date of Program:22 May 2011
Time: 5pm to 7pm
Venue:Town Hall to Mahatma Gandhi Statue, MG Road, Bangalore
The draconian act of AFSPA has been implemented in North eastern states of India since 1958 and in Jammu and Kashmir since 1991. It was on May 22, 1958, that the AFSPA was promulgated in the north east as an ordinance. This law is more draconian than its predecessor ordinance used by the British to suppress the Quit India Movement. It gave extraordinary powers to members of the armed forces, to arrest without warrant and shoot to kill on the basis of suspicion; and no legal action can be taken up against the armed forces without prior sanction from the Centre.
As the cricket mania has reached a feverish pitch here after the victory of India in the World Cup that culminated recently, with obvious display of joy in a country that has huge cricket following among many ordinary Indians, where cricketers are treated next only to God (which is reflective of the skewed & unequal social relationship that characterize the country). But what is inexcusable is the blatant exploitation of this sentiment by the ruling class & its mouthpiece capitalist media that has created this unheard of frenzy bordering on patriotism & nationalism as if the entire nation was on a war path.
Extraordinary stand against the brutal state and draconian powers
The struggle for the emancipation of women from sexism and for social-political and economic equality continues in various valiant fights all over India. But on the occasion of International Women’s Day, 2011, the extraordinary struggle of one woman against the brutal Indian state and its draconian powers needs to be brought out. She has taken on the might of the Indian Army single-handed with her determined fight.
As part of a broader initiative under the banner of Peoples’ Solidarity Concerns – Bangalore, New Socialist Alternative (CWI – India) was involved in a week long campaign in Bangalore in the first week of February in solidarity with the 10 year old fast being undertaken by Irom Chanu Sharmila, a Manipuri poet & activist, highlighting the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) & the simmering nationality question in India.