Rabindranath Tagore Peace Prize given to Sharmila

By Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, September 11: Yet another feather in the cap was added to Irom Sharmila Chanu, who has been fasting for 10 years demanding the Government to withdraw the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.  Sharmila has received as many as eight awards including international awards in recognition of her struggle for humanity.

The Rabindranath Tagore Peace Prize-2010 instituted by the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) was handed over to the Iron Lady at her special security ward of the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) in Imphal where she is kept under custodial remand.

The award consists of 51 lakh rupees in cash, one shawl and one citation.
Handing over the award to  Sharmila, Founder Chairperson of IIPM, Dr Malay Chauduri said that, Rabindranath Tagore always stood for peace and against barbaric activities.He added that his institute will try at its best to inculcate the morale of Sharmila who is fighting against barbaric activities to bring peace in the state. Choudury said that it is a rare event that a woman has been fasting for the last 10 years.

Malay Chaudhuri said,“Sharmila is a of the unique lady of the country. We’re conferring the award for her determination and courage in her guest for peace”. Her struggle and patience will inspire the students of his institute, he added.
Receiving the peace prize, Sharmila said that, the money of the award will be donated to the services of containing anti-social elements and helping the welfare activities of the people.

“I am not demanding the removal of the draconian Act not only from my state, Manipur, but from all places where it is in force, Sharmila in a low voice said adding that people specially women are suffering a great deal under the Act.
Sharmila’s brother Irom Singhajit who was present in the handing over of the ward said, “The award money will be utilized to conduct various programmes related to her ongoing campaign”.

Singhajit is the managing trustee of Just Peace Foundation, a rights group supporting Sharmila’s struggle and organizing a 100-day countdown to the completion of a decade-long fast by Irom Sharmila with a call for a united struggle against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.

Poster campaigns, street corner meetings, symposiums, kavi sammelan and human chains were some of the activities of the countdown,he added.Sharmila has been on a fast unto death since November 4, 2000 demanding the Government to withdraw the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.

Sharmila began her strike after the Assam Rifles killed 10 civilians at Malom near Imphal airport on November 2, 2000, and will be completing 10 years of her fast against the “draconian law”, on November 1. The award is funded by a consortium of institutes and universities in Asia and Europe,is conferred on individuals and groups who have made a significant contribution in the areas of people’s economics/ people-centric management/ literature/ peace. Sharmila has also been honoured with many other awards including the coveted Gwangju Human Rights Award by the South Korean-based May 18 Memorial Foundation.