Hours after the Centre removed the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from several parts of three northeastern states of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland, the Manipur government has decided to felicitate “Iron Lady” Irom Chanu Sharmila for her 16 years’ hunger strike as part of the anti-AFSPA movement.
“We shall definitely invite her and honour her,” Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh said. “I also appreciate the people of Manipur, mainly Shrimati Sharmila who sacrificed half of her life staging dharna and hunger strike for 16 years, “ he added.
“I would like to thank all the people for their support. At least, the AFSPA has been removed for the areas under 15 police stations of the state, “ Singh said.
Manipur’s well known human rights activist Irom chanu Sharmila was on a hunger strike from November 4 in 2000 to August 2016 demanding repeal of the AFSPA before forming the People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance ahead of the 2017 Manipur assembly elections.
She launched her hunger strike two days after security forces killed 10 people at Malom in the outskirts of Imphal which was later known as the Malom Massacre.
Sharmila, 49, who became the face of the anti-AFSPA movement in Manipur and elsewhere in the country, welcomed the Centre’s decision to remove AFSPA from several parts of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland. In an interview with HT, she described the government’s move as “a real sign of democracy”.
“The decision to repeal an outdated and colonial law seems a real sign of democracy to me… It’s a new beginning and a result of the decades-long fight. The first step has been taken, and I want Afspa to be abolished permanently from the entire North-East. The victims, who have lost their loved ones and those who have personally suffered because of this law, should be compensated,” she said.