by Ravi Nitesh
At present when you are reading this letter, there are many things going on this world. Some are becoming a everyday story and adding just another day in one’s life, some are there and contributing to where history is being created and recorded and even some others, with people like you who are reading this article and now will know about this part of history, where a lady, popularly known as Iron lady of Manipur, is entering in 15th year of her fast that is in the common interest of people of Manipur and within the larger objective of humanity and justice, and therefore rare in one of its kind.
Just like you, I am also a mute spectator of this history that is mixed with pride and sadness for me. It is a pride for reasons because I am able to live in this year of history where I can witness such a non violent historic and heroic struggle of an individual who herself became an invincible, immoral and a movement within herself. Sad, because I wish and pray of its end through the fulfilling the demand of Repeal AFSPA by government. I, at present cannot do much, but probably the least that I can do is to share my sentiments with you and to devote myself in solidarity.
At a time, when you are reading this article, I am sitting in solidarity fast in support of Irom Sharmila, in the same city where she is under arrest. Common supporters like myself, activists and students are also sitting in solidarity with her. While I think that I may not be able to meet and to speak to you all, I feel that this article (that is mostly in the form of letter) may reach to some of you for sure and through this way, I can convey ing my solidarity with your struggle.
I would like to convey the sentiments of all fellow countrymen also who thinks and speaks for your rights and justice, I would like to convey sympathy of our mothers and sisters to your families and I would like to tell you that you that we believe that together we will get the rights and justice in coming time.
I also see it as a time, when in my view, more than our worries about Irom Sharmila’s fast, government should be in fear to see the changing time when now it is another year that has come to add itself in counting of longest fast and probably longest non violent struggle for a demand. It should be a matter of worry for a democracy like India that history is being written of its ignorance and deviating decisions of undemocratic behavior, history will remember the contradiction and biased behavior of governments of this democracy.
People who are subjected to AFSPA are just any common people of other parts of India. On the other hand, armymen who are working with AFSPA powers are also like any other human being but with skilled trainings of armed systems like any other army has. The Government must think that how it is trying to create a rift between army and people with such a mechanized law that do not consider humanity and rather treat people like any object, they (army men) can play with. It cannot be said to be fair or beneficial in anyway.
On the other hand, people within the army, should also think about the same reasons that how they hear stories and see the things in unbiased ways of any killings, fake encounters and even rapes and they must think that how all such victims are also a larger part of their family and how there could be various reasons and moments that the lives could be saved and might not be necessarily lost. Our dear army men and the whole army commands must also understand that how people of Manipur or North East or any other part cannot be enemy of them and even the ‘region’ cannot be a reason of any such enmity. There are examples where people from these regions contribted well for the Indian defence system and other forms of social and national causes. In fact, from the government to army to judiuciary to people, everyone must take it as a clear point that opposing AFSPA just meant to opposing a particular policy and extra ordinary powers and it has no concern of any personal or professional enmity among the people and army. It is the same as people in non AFSPA imposed areas are against the extra ordinary leisure, facilities and corruptions of bureaucrats and politicians and it is no where oppose of bureaucrats and politics.
It is not an easy task that Irom Sharmila is doing. For the courts, when it was an ‘attempt to suicide’, for Irom Sharmila, probably it was one of the ‘reason’ to ‘live’. She is not aimless like many of us are. Unlike us, she has a reason and thought process and a decided goal for her life. Putting the life on fast with all known intention, motivation and clear objective towards making a society more humane, cannot be said as attempt to suicide, instead it is something that we all need in our lives.
With my heartiest salute to this living legend of Non Violence and brave people of all AFSPA imposed areas With the sense and determination of making our society more humane, more civilized With the demand from Government to Repeal AFSPA from all regions.
Ravi Nitesh is Core Member: Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign and founder: Mission Bhartiyam