Tanuj Bhardwaj, BeyondHeadlines
New Delhi: A campaign was organised in solidarity of Irom Sharmila in the national capital on June 25.
Around 100 well meaning people, rights activists and volunteers gathered at Gandhi’s Memorial, opposite Rajghat under the banner “Save Sharmila Campaign,’’ jointly organised by National Alliance of People’s Movement, Asha Parivar, Gandhi Global Family, Jagriti Mahila Samiti, Khudai Khidmatgar, and Yuva Kosish Mission Bhartiyam.
They had gathered to show their support to Irom Sharmila, also known as the “Iron Lady of Manipur” or “Menghaobi” (“the fair one”) who has been fasting since 2 November 2000.
(All photographs taken by Tanuj Bhardwaj)
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Irom is on fast for more than ten years now with the sole demand of repealing of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA), notorious for excesses by army personnel.
This was in clear contrast to the well organised fast of Anna Hazare that saw large turnout of people.
Faisal Khan of Khudai Khidmatgar said, “The Manipuris had been trying hard to publicize Irom Sharmila’s fight, every week, something or the other events happen in Delhi but no media gives their attention towards them. It’s time we show support to our fellow Indians”.
Slogans like, “Manipuris keep walking forward, we are behind you”, “Justice to Irom Sharmila”, “Non-Violence should not be ignored” etc. were heard.
Akhu Chingangbam from Imphal Talkies, sang “India I see Blood in Your hands” a song which decries the injustice of Indian Government in the name of democracy. Many Delhi Police personals were stationed at the spot to guard the peaceful candle light vigil at Rajghat.
After a small programme, the people were to light candle at Gandhi’s Samadhi, but the Delhi Police did not allow them to cross the road and so candles were lighted opposite to Rajghat.