On 2 November 2000
Ten civilians, including children and elderly women, waiting at a bus stop in Malom, Manipur, were gunned down by soldiers of the Assam Rifles.
Horrified by the atrocity, and other human rights abuses in Manipur enabled by the oppressive Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 28-year-old Irom Chanu Sharmila started an indefinite hunger strike in protest. A few days later, she was arrested `for “attempting to commit suicide”.
That was 14 years ago. And the hunger strike is still on.
Today, Irom Sharmila’s conviction and struggle against the AFSPA continues unabated. Her resilience has been recognized around the world. But authorities in India still refuse to recognize the strength of her demands.
A hunger strike is not attempted suicide. Irom Sharmila is only exercising her right to protest peacefully – a right the Indian Constitution recognizes. In an interview with Amnesty International India last year, Irom Sharmila said, “My struggle is my message. I love my life very much and want to have the freedom to meet people and struggle for issues close to my heart.”
On 20 August 2014, Irom Sharmila was released after a Manipur court ruled that there were no grounds for charging her with attempted suicide, and her protest was a political and lawful demand. But just two days later, she was arrested again for the same ‘crime’.
Help us end this farce.
Call for all charges against Irom Sharmila to be dropped. Demand that she be freed immediately and unconditionally