New Delhi: They went
all out to support Anna Hazare's fast against corruption, and now
netizens are rooting for Manipur's 'Iron Lady' Irom Chanu Sharmila,
who has been on hunger strike for 10 years to demand repealing of
AFSPA, a controversial law that gives sweeping powers to the armed
"After Anna Hazare's effort, I am supporting Irom Chanu Sharmila.
Are you?" writes Bhautik Sheth on Facebook.
"If the demand for Anna can be met in a few hours of fast, why her
demand can't be met when she is on a fast for 10 years?" writes
Sharmila is on a fast since Nov 4, 2000, demanding repealing of
the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from Manipur and other
states of the country's northeast.
Her story, more than a decade old, started with the infamous Malom
massacre of November 2000 when 10 people, including a 1988
National Child Bravery Award winner, were gunned down by security
forces in Malom town of Imphal valley.
The paramilitary forces claimed the civilians died in
"The lack of government response convinced Irom Sharmila Chanu,
then 28, to act. On the evening of Nov 4, after taking blessings
from her mother, she launched her hunger strike against the wider
problems of AFSPA. In due course she extended the scope of her
demand to all regions of India's northeast where AFSPA has been
imposed," says the Facebook page on Sharmila.
AFSPA confers special powers upon the armed forces in "disturbed
areas", including most of the northeast and Jammu and Kashmir.
Enacted 52 years ago, it gives sweeping powers to the security
forces to curb terrorism - and many like Sharmila say it has been
"She has not met her mother once these 10 years: her pact with her
unlettered mother is that they will see each other only after she
achieves her political goal. Her body organs have begun to
degenerate irreversibly; her menstrual periods have halted. The
tube through which she is forcefully fed is continuously painful,"
reads a cause dedicated to demanding a Nobel prize for the woman,
who is popularly called the 'Iron Lady of Manipur'.
The page has so far been supported by over 8,400 people.
Sharmila is fed forcefully, three times a day, through a nasal
tube, which has become a part of her identity being featured in
all her pictures.
"Anna's fast got its hearing, why not Irom," writes Asha Singh, a
Madhya Pradesh based journalist on her Facebook page.
"The younger generation of Manipur is indeed inspired by this Iron
woman deeply. We all stand by Sharmila and for the cause. It's all
about a balanced democracy and governance all over the country.
Certain section of Indian society, specially NE (northeast) and
particularly Manipur, should be treated differently or
step-motherly. We want equality in all aspects..!," writes
Robindro, who hails from Imphal.
Micro-blogging site Twitter too has comments comparing Sharmila's
fast to that of Gandhian Anna Hazare, reminding people about her
and asking why her fast has not been heard.
"Irom Sharmila will be on hunger strike while the establishment
continues to ignore her... worth sparing a thought," writes
Avinash Iyer on Twitter.
Anna Hazare, who is from Maharashtra, was on a fast unto death
last week to demand a strong anti-graft Lokpal Bill with the
involvement of civil society. But 97 hours later, he broke his
hunger strike as the government gave into his demands.
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