Irom Sharmila receives mass support

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Kolkata, March 12: The 'Save Sharmila Week' saw hundreds of people come out in support of Manipuri activist Irom Sharmila Chanu. People from different walks of life participated in the candlelight vigil which started in front of the Maharaja Manindra college in Shyambazar located in the north of the city.

"We support Sharmila's goal of repealing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. This vigil will create awareness about the movement," co-ordinator of the 'Save sharmila Solidarity Campaign(SSSC)' Shubhojit Duttagupta.

The 'Save Sharmila Week' is part of the SSSC's campaign to gather support for iconic Manipuri activist Irom Sharmila, on a fast for about 12 years demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act that is seen by many as repressive.

Irom Sharmila

It was launched on March 8, International Women's Day, in Chennai, the week will conclude on Sharmila's birthday March 14.

Recently, a book, Iron Irom: Two journeys, was released. "Irom's story has been written in a first-person account and in a non-intellectual way so that people can easily understand and get involved in her cause," writer and filmmaker Minnie Vaid was quoted saying.

"The book is an introduction to Manipur and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the army atrocities because of it. No amount of books written on her are enough. People need to think about her and engage with her issues. The movement has to be to repeal AFSPA," Vaid was quoted saying.

Also, a group of 60 plus artists from various parts of the country have designed postcards to express their solidarity towards her struggle.

Sharmila started her hunger strike in Nov 2000 after the "Malom Massacre" an where 10 innocent persons were killed by personnel of the Assam Rifles. Thereafter she was arrested by the police and when her condition began to deteriorate, she was transferred to the Jawaharlal Institute of Medical Sciences where she is force fed.

The law under which Sharmila is detained allows the police to detain her for a year, after which she is released. Since she refuses to break her world-record fast, she is again arrested and then produced in court every 15 days for the extension of her custody.

Sharmila started her hunger strike in Nov 2000 after the "Malom Massacre" an where 10 innocent persons were werein Nov 2000 after the "Malom Massacre" an where 10 innocent persons of the Assam Rifles.

Since she refuses to break her world-record fast, she is again arrested and then produced in court every 15 days for the extension of her custody.

She has been the recipient of several awards including the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights in 2007 and the Rabindranath Tagore Peace Prize in 2010.

OneIndia News (With inputs from IANS)

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