Students to launch Sign Campaign to support Irom Sharmila

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Irom Sharmila
Pune, Oct 3: After supporting Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement for Jan Lokpal bill, now the students in Pune are planning to start a nation wide campaign in support of Irom Sharmila. Sharmila, who is known as the Iron Lady of Manipur, has been holding a hunger strike from the past 11 years to press for the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

Students in the city along with activists of National Alliance for People's Movement (NAPM) and few NGOs have decided to start a signature campaign. The campaign is likely to kickstart from this week where volunteers will visit different colleges in the city to boost the youths to take part in the 'Irom Sharmila Solidarity Campaign'.

The main aim of the campaign will be to take thousand signatures, organise seminars and candle light march in next few weeks to create awareness about the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

"We want to approach as many people and students from various colleges as we can to encourage them to participate in the decade- old struggle for the repeal of the AFSPA," said Suhas Kolhekar, member of NAPM, Pune division.

The activists have demanded the government to make serious efforts to have a meaningful dialogue with Sharmila and withdraw the AFSPA from Manipur at the earliest. Irom is being force-fed through her nose by the government.

The nation wide campaign will end on the Human Rights Day on Dec 10 in New Delhi. "We will collect signatures and hand these over to President Pratibha Patil on December 10. We have also demanded the repeal of other draconian laws like the UAPA, MCOCA, and CSPSA," said Mukta Shrivastava, an activist.

The activists also urged National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to visit Sharmila and Manipur to understand the human rights violation in the state and take right action on the matter.

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