Posts Tagged ‘hunger strike’

“There was no other means to stop further violations by the armed forces against innocent people. I thought that peace rally and inquiry commissions would be meaningless. Unless I do something to change the situation.” Sharmila.

In October 2000, Sharmila had volunteered as an intern for the “Independent People’s Inquiry Commission” led by Justice H.Suresh arranged by Human Rights Alert, legal fraternity, human right’s organizations and NGO’s. She acted as a translator for the advocates in the inquiry commission. She translated the gang rape case of Mercy M.Kabui for Advocate Preeti Verma. “I sustained pain in my private parts. When I urinated, I checked my private parts and the pain coming from there. I found blood in my private parts.”

Sharmila was emotionally troubled after hearing Mercy’s personal account of being raped in the sanctuary of her own home, by two CRPF personnel’s in front of her father-in-law while her husband was being held by other two CRPF personnel outside the house.

On 2nd November 2000, Sharmila was in Malom preparing for a peace rally when she was shocked to receive the news of 10 innocent people being gunned down by Assam Rifles personnel. Among the ten innocent victims the eldest was a 6o years old woman Leisangbam Ibetomi and youngest 17 year old Sinam Chandramani, a National Child Bravery Award winner (1988). After receiving the news she wanted to go and meet the IMA’s but couldn’t because there was a bandh. In the solitude of her home she realized that hosting peace rallies was not going to solve any problems, she needed to take a drastic action.

Since an early age Sharmila ritualistically fasted on Thursday, on this occasion she continued her fast till 4th November (Saturday) 2000. She decided on 4th November 2000 that she would start a non-violent peaceful hunger strike to repeal AFSPA. Her last meal in past 10 years was with two friends, they visited a bakery for some sweets. Sharmila then took her mother’s permission “to do something more for the people of Manipur”, her mother being a simpleton blessed her “it’s good and you will succeed in all you do.”

On 5th November 2000 Sharmila started her hunger strike from the Malom site. She was only 28 years old. Since then Sharmila has not consumed a single drop of water or food. Sharmila’s only demand is to repeal Armed Forces Special Power Act 1958 (AFSPA).

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