Supporters express solidarity as Irom Sharmila's fast enters 15th year

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Irom Sharmila's fast enters 15th year
Imphal, Nov 6: Sit-in-protests, hunger strike and demonstrations joined by students, civil society organisations and human rights activists were held in Manipur to express solidarity with social activist Irom Chanu Sharmila whose fast demanding repeal of the AFSPA, 1958 from the state entered its 15th year.

Irom Sharmila has been on fast demanding the repeal of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSA) 1958 from Manipur since Nov 5, 2000, after ten civilians were killed in an 'encounter' by Assam Rifles personnel at Malom area near Imphal airport on Nov 2, 2000.

Human rights activists from several parts of the country and abroad took part in yesterday's programmes across Manipur on Wednesday, spokespersons of Just Peace Foundation (JPF), Human Rights Alert (HRA) and Apunba Manipur Matam Eshel Kanglup, a major social organisation in the state, said.

The protestors also demanded repeal of the AFSPA from the other north eastern states and Jammu and Kashmir. JPF, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Bangkok), May 18 Memorial Foundation (Korea) and HRA also oganised a hunger strike from 8 AM to 4 pm.

Irom Sharmila has been on a fast since Nov 2000

Activists including Binayak Sen from People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Public Health Physician (India), Lenin Raghuvanshi, secretary general and executive director of People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), Sushil Raj Pyakurel of Informal Sector Service Centre founder and chairperson (Nepal) and Wardah Hafidz, coordinator of Urban Poor Consortium (Indonesia) joined the hunger strike and held a press conference.

Expressing solidarity to her protest, Binayak Sen said they would continue to support her cause for the repeal of the AFSPA. The Act, he said, destroys the very essence of democracy and obstructs the progress of justice and more than two generations of Manipuris have grown up without knowing the meaning of freedom.

Sen also urged the Supreme Court to expedite the adjudication of the Santosh Hegde Commission, appointed by the apex court in 2013, to investigate encounter killings in Manipur. Sushil Raj Pyakurel said credit should be given to the Human Rights defenders for supporting and promoting the movement of Sharmila. Lien from Gwangju (Korea) said people of the state should support Sharmila's movement.

PTI

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