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Defying democratic protest in a democracy

by IT Web Admin
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IT Desk
Irom Chanu Sharmila’s fast unto death protest which drew the attention of the world community is perhaps the best form of democratic protest, which the father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi once undertook against the British Colonial rule. The then anarchic British Government which colonized the nation for over 200 years had great respect for the kind of protest he undertook, but what is surprising is that, free India- which is often described and considered as the largest democracy in the world still does not have an inkling of respect for the kind of protest that the father of the nation once used as the most potent and non-violent weapon to achieve freedom. What prompted the minds of the genial public, specially the younger generation to question the system is: Is India a colonial regime or is it ruling over its citizens with the attitude of an autocratic mindset? Had the protest of Sharmila took another violent form with political mindset like the ones which is being followed by many organizations in the state- calling indefinite blockade along the national highways  or calling general strike or even torching of government offices, then the Government authorities would have considered the movement . The Kuki armed rebel groups or the NSCN-IM or the Valley based armed rebel groups didn’t take much time to get the notice of the Government  but it still remain as ignorant and insensitive to the decade old non violent protest of Irom Chanu Sharmila. It a shame and a blot on it’s own “Democratic” claim that the government charged the lady of trying to commit suicide even after knowing the extreme form of non violent protest which the “Iron Lady of Manipur” undertook was a fast unto life, for freedom and for a society devoid of oppression and fear. Even after the glaring facts about the macabre incident which prompted the Lady to undertake such an extreme step have been established, yet the Government, in it’s omission to admit to the various atrocities which are still being committed with impunity by the Indian armed forces under the cover of AFSPA 1958, are in fact sowing the seeds for more dissent and armed resistance groups. Instead of turning their guns at such a remarkable person who showed exemplary courage and an indomitable spirit in her quest for a simple and sedate life, one who defied all odds and threats from the mighty Indian armed forces as well as the skewed legal system, coming to terms with the fact that the Act is obsolete and archaic, not to mention it’s draconian character will pave the way for a slow yet steady recovery. AFSPA have indeed turned against the very purpose for which it was implemented, with more unrest and armed insurgency mushrooming up in places where this act is still in effect- creating a fertile breeding ground for the situation it aspires to remove. Does the Government , by it’s very action suggesting that it’s better to get killed than to risk death in one’s peaceful quest for life?

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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