Imphal July 25: Renowned filammaker Aribam Shyam Sharma has said that he has not yet made a film on Irom Chanu Sharmila, who has been on fast for the past nearly 10 years demanding repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958, for it is not easy to make a film on her.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to reflect her inner strength in a film that I make on Sharmila,” the renowned director said in all humility.
“Besides, I’ve not taken a snap of her as yet. It will be difficult for me to do so. For the mediapersons, it is a routine job to take her photographs,” Shyam Sharma said.
He also said that he has not yet met the Iron Lady face to face, because he would be going to meet her after filling his stomach while Sharmila has not been taking a grain of food for so many years. A person with his stomach full would not understand the difficulties that a person who has been on fast would be facing, he said.
The renowned film maker, who has received a number of national and international awards, gave these remarks while speaking at a solemn function held at Manipur Press Club to launch “100 Days Countdown towards completion of Irom Sharmila’s 10 years hunger strike” today.
Describing the struggle of Sharmila as an “extraordinary struggle of an extraordinary woman,” Shyam said, “We are proud of her struggle”.
Vice Chairman of Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy and former President of Manipur Shahitya Parishad, Prof N Tombi, who also took part in the function, said that the struggle of Sharmila will be a historical event of the state which will remain written in golden ink. She is the symbol of peace. People of the state must project her as a symbol of peace in the global context.
President of the Senior Citizens’ Society, Manipur, Ningthoujam Binoy called for mass participation in the struggle for repeal of the Act to save Sharmila.
Time has come to ban political parties which do not extend support to the struggle of Sharmila, Binoy said.
Nonagenarian social worker, Th Iboyaima, president of the Irabot Foundation, said that there is a strong need for bringing the people of the North Eastern region together to a common platform to fight the continuation of enforcement of AFSPA in the region.
Executive director of Human Rights Alert, Babloo Loitongbam observed that even though activities of Maoists are expanding at fast rates, the Central government is not using Army to counter them. But in the North Eastern Region and Jammu and Kashmir, security forces are deployed in large number in the name of curbing insurgency by giving the security personnel extra power under the AFSPA, 1958.
Under the shadow of the Act, the security personnel are violating rights of the people in rampant manner and despite hue and cry of people of the region, the Government of India still remains deaf, Babloo lamented asking why the Centre was not willing to address the suffering of the people of the region.
Who had ever undertaken fast for 10 years for the cause of human rights in the world, he asked. But Irom Sharmila has been struggling for the last nine years for the cause of the people, and going to complete 10 years in November this year, he said.
Ex-member of Manipur Human Rights Commission, RK Rajendra also spoke on the occasion in which Irom Shingajit, elder brother of Sharmila gave the keynote address of the function.
The Just Peace Foundation (JPF) today launched the “100 Days Countdown towards completion of Sharmila’s 10 years of hunger strike” which would have a series of cultural programs, literary and artistic activities, public meetings, public rallies, and poster campaigns to be held in the next 100 day till November 2.
The foundation, in collaboration with the civil society in Manipur and beyond, is celebrating Sharmila’s indomitable spirit, her audacity to hope in the midst of adversities, her unwavering stand for justice and her deep yearning for peace. A Festival of Hope, Justice and Peace will also be held from 2 to 6 November 2010, organizers said.
On 2 November 2010, Irom Sharmila Chanu’s fasting stir will complete ten years demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA). She began her protest a day after the Malom massacre where 10 civilians were gunned down by the Armed Forces on 2 November 2000.
AFSPA provides special powers to arrest, detain and even kill civilians on suspicion. The power to search and destroy properties on mere suspicion is granted to the Armed Forces of the Union in the ‘disturbed areas’ of the North East (and subsequently in Kashmir).
Where ever AFSPA is in operation, enforced ‘disappearances’, extra-judicial killings, torture, rape and arbitrary detention have been routinely reported, talkers in the launching function held at Manipur Press Club, Imphal lamented.
The people of Manipur have done whatever is humanely possible to register their protest against AFSPA — naked protest by mothers, self immolation by student leader, mass demonstration, petition to the Supreme Court, complaints to the United Nations etc. Same is the case with other peoples of the North East and the Jammu and Kashmir.
Many well meaning civil society groups and political parties within India as well as human rights groups from abroad have consistently supported this demand. But the GoI is remaining unmoved in repealing the Act.