Irom Sharmila and Anna Hazare Hunger Strike : North East India View

After the successful completion of hunger strike by Anna Hazare demanding enacting Lokpal Bill, the comparison of hunger strike by Irom Sharmila and Anna Hazare has now surfaced in social networking sites by Netizens from North East India as well as in blogspehere.

In Time of India, social commentator Santosh Desai says, “The state can forcefully feed if the issue doesn’t have certain legitimacy,” in case of Irom Sharmila! ( source here )

On Twitter, many tweets doing round about the same few examples are :-

@sardesairajdeep: Can you please tell why Anna Hazare type attention is not given to Irom Sharmila, who has been fasting for last 10 years?

@manjitzing Because her cause is totally misplaced. And she’s not getting the point in 10yrs. Ask her to start eating. @sardesairajdeep

Irom Sharmila has been on indefinite fast for ovr 10 yrs. But she hasn’t been able to attract TV channels. Therefore she hasn’t succeeded.

Anna Hazare fasted for 4 days and was supported by the people, including the glamour world, and the national media. Hence he succeeded.

One thing i didn’t get. Why wasn’t Anna Hazare arrested for “attemp to commit suicide”, IPC 309 ?

Its been 10+ years & i feel proud for her. Y not go to Delhi n give some hardcore speeches like Anna did while fasting?@akeesorok

In another blog post, aptly titled “The Art Of Hunger Strike”, the blogger writes

The nation is rejoicing as Anna’s farce fast unto ‘death’ crusade ends. We decided to compare this with another hunger strike being kept by Irom Chanu Sharmila. A fast which has lasted for more than 10 years…
( Source )

The way Government of India treats the two hunger strikes, specially the invoking the IPC 309 against Irom Sharmila and not against Anna Hazare proves that Indian law treats some citizens more equal than others ( from North East India).

Many netizens opine that Irom Sharmila is on hunger strike is demanding “right to live” as AFSPA ( Armed Forces Special Power Act) gives almost license to kill to armed forces involved in counter insurgency operation in North East India.

Supporters of AFSPA ( include armed forces, some security experts) claims that, without AFSPA cover, it would be difficult to fight terrorism. Sadly, they have forgotten that AFSPA in force for last 50 years in North East India has neither helped them ‘fight’ terrorism here nor made it easier. Its only natural that draconian laws like this attract misuse as well as public outrage when used for long time!

Civil Societies in India as well as political parties were quick enough to demand and get repealed similar draconian law POTA introduced to fight terrorism in ‘mainland India’, but same is not case with AFSPA whose repeal Irom Sharmila is demanding and on hunger strike for last 10 years.

6 thoughts on “Irom Sharmila and Anna Hazare Hunger Strike : North East India View

  • Pingback: I am hungry… I am right | Centre Right India

  • April 11, 2011 at 8:48 am
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    It not a question of the two persons, Anna Hazare and Irom Sharmila, it rather a question of the two separate issues involved, Corruption and repealing of AFSPA. Corruption is a universal problem in India, and everybody supports it. There are no two opinions that corruption has to be fought and removed. Hence the widespread support for Anna Hazare’s campaign.
    Regarding repealing of AFSPA, there is a section of people who only looks at some past misuses of AFSPA, without thinking about the reasons why it is necessary. Ask yourself, if your brother is in armed forces, will you want him to be posted in militancy ridden Kashmir without AFSPA? When militants ambush a army patrol and run off into a village, will the army guys go after them and search for them in the houses, or will they first go to the police station and obtain a search warrant? Things like this is what AFSPA allows them to do. Army is not given such powers in normal circumstances, but only in situation where they have to deal with armed militants.
    While the anti-AFSPA activists keep organising marches and demonstrations for removing AFSPA, they never take out demosntrations against the hundreds of people being killed by militatnts in Manipur every year.
    Regarding a fast, I think it is plainly obvious that if you have been nosefed, your fast has been broken. While there is a not-stop spree of people being killed, kidnapped, looted by militants in Manipur, it is interesting to see that some people prefer to be blind to all that, and just harp on removing AFSPA. By the way, AFSPA was removed from most parts of Imphal many years back? What has it changed? It has only given a free hand to the insurgents.
    I wish Sharmila had fasted to make the insurgents leave the path of violence. Then there would not be a need for AFSPA.

    Reply
    • April 14, 2011 at 12:51 am
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      Shame on u ***….

      Reply
  • August 5, 2011 at 9:16 am
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    Just responding to Observer. No reasonable person objects to robust rules of engagement if you send in the army. AF(SP)A however does more than allow soldiers to enter a village without first seeking warrants. For example AF(SP)A provides absolute immunity from investigation or prosecution for rape/gang rape. Don’t you think that one is odd. What reason would a soldier have for legitimately raping or being involved in gang rape. Mr A K Antony the Defence Minister blocked an application by the CBI to investigate gang rape by paramilitaries on the grounds that the AF(SP)A was designed to give immunity in all cases. The other problem is that of trophy killing. An officer to get a promotion can order from a menu say two insurgents. He can then bag them as a British Raj Officer on a Tiger hunt. He will get a promotion and a medal. AF(SP)A does not allow the local police to investigate in simple cases of murder. As for what Sharmila stands for. AF(SP)A repeal is only the first step in the restoration of the rule of law. She will then live in Manipur surrounded by the goondas and thugs described variously as insurgents police paramilitaries. It is a disgusting land which India has given up on. Four members of the Indian Cabinet the PM, the Law Minister the Home Secretary and Union Home Minister all want at least changes in AF(SP)A and yes part is to introduce a requirement for warrants before entering into a village using lethal force. Perhaps think if one day the law were used in Delhi or Mumbai. It’s not like you don’t get terrorist there at all. AF(SP)A has failed although it has been in use for fifty years. Three Indian Judicial commissions have sought its repeal. IE intelligent educated opinion has sought its repeal. Even Army opposition is unthinking. No Indian soldier is going to be convicted in an Indian Court for what they do to tribals. Like you say the Judges the powers that be are on his side. As for why Sharmila is fasting. I sometimes wonder about Indians. She doesn’t see the world as you do. Rich fat Indians who need protection from skinny poor thieves. She sees people. I think more like you. But there’s no getting to her. She believes that through non-violent peaceful non-cooperation through love and not by confrontation the world will change. I still hope this year. With AF(SP)A repeal yep she can move onto step two. Demanding that the insurgents stop stealing and murdering from their own people. She and I will live in Manipur. But you feel free to post your thoughts from your armchair in Delhi. As you are now they once were. As they are now you may one day be.

    Reply
  • August 19, 2011 at 9:12 am
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    hi Desmond Coutinho,
    i am fully agree with you. Observer says that if my brother would have to serve as a army person there in Manipur……. i am asking him if his sister or mother had rapped by such army force in the name of searching terrorists,then he will say…?

    Reply

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