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From solidarity to solitude

by IT Web Admin
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Is AFSPA in Manipur eternal? The very question that has been on the minds of every single individual in Manipur has been given a national voice by none other than the apex court in the country when it asked the Manipur government how long the Army should be deployed in the state and enjoy unaccountable power under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and whether 35 years of the Army’s presence had improved the law and order situation. Back home, however, the relentless struggle to keep the issue in the limelight for more than one and half decade by Irom Chanu Sharmila, bestowed with the title of “Iron Lady of Manipur”, by going on a hunger strike since the “Malom Massacre” on 2nd November 2000 when the Indian Army- specifically the Assam Rifles gunned down ten civilians in cold blood in broad daylight has evidently started to wane from public memory. That Irom Sharmila’s unshakable determination has kept her going even amidst some of the most trying times and in the face of stiff resistance speaks volume of the sacrifice the lady has been making to get rid of the draconian and obsolete law. The hue and cry of support and solidarity for her endeavor by the teeming population has died down, and more trivial issues have come to occupy the imagination and indulgence of the public. Perhaps the perceivable improvement in the law and order situation in recent years have lulled the public into a false sense of security, or that the priorities of the people have changed from one of trying to stay alive to trying to build a better future by taking higher risks. Whatever may be the reason, the public and the once vociferously vocal social organizations need to take up the issue and support the campaign to repeal AFSPA by Sharmila without any let up because whatever may be the present social condition, the bitter truth is that the Indian Army will not hesitate to use the Act as a an impregnable shield behind which to carry out their every whims and fancies in the state without even the need to try and justify their actions. There had been instances where various individuals and parties have obviously associated themselves with the relentless campaign of Sharmila at opportune times for their personal and political mileage- a folly that undermines the importance and relevancy of the struggle. Lest we forget, Sharmila is not fighting a personal battle, nor is she so much as trying to right a wrong. What she is struggling for is much more than all of it. She is fighting for the future of this state- for its very continuity- for all of us. If we are unable to raise our voice or do our bit to show solidarity for the lady, perhaps we are not worthy of the privileges and sanctuary this land has been providing us inspite of the teeming pretenders and profitters masquerading as our saviours. Instead of trying to gag the voice of reason and blot out the efforts of the Iron Lady- an exercise that will only end in futility, the state government  should remove the Disturbed Area tag from the whole of the state and pave way for repealing the most tragic act ever to have conjured up. The lady is still up for every challenge until her demand- our demand is fulfilled. Let us show our sincere solidarity instead of leaving her in solitude.               

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