The hyperbolic, hyperactive Indian media should be ashamed at not having promoted Irom Sharmila’s just cause (She Who Will Not Break, Sep 19). The much-hated afspa is against democracy and civil rights. What is perpetrated on the people of Manipur today can be brought against you and me tomorrow.
Werner, Saalfelden, Austria
Irom Sharmila is a heroine of modern India. It’s tragic that her struggle is still largely unknown; our complete ignorance about the difficulties faced by our countrymen in the Northeast has to end. While I understand that the army has a tough job to do, the government can surely enter into a dialogue with her, and evolve a roadmap for meeting her demands.
Now that Anna Hazare and his team have the common man’s attention, they should visit Irom Sharmila in Manipur, highlight her struggle and, if possible, pressure the Centre to repeal the afspa, or at least introduce a less draconian law. Manipuris are Indians too.
There are things other than Irom Sharmila concerning Manipur that impact India. The Centre has not been overly concerned about Naga rebels cutting off Manipur by blockading the national highway. Would New Delhi have reacted with such absolute apathy if the road to Kashmir was cut off at Jammu?
Charan Dewry, Guwahati
It’s a shame. Sharmila’s long, gritty protest against afspa barely attracts media focus; the same media perks up at reports of her love life.
Sanket Biswas, Calcutta
India is Delhi centric in most of its policies. For long non-Congress states were ignored till the advent of the coalition era when regional parties came into their own. As a citizen of India it has saddened me immensely for a long time that Delhi should ignore the Northeast. While there is a lot of tokenism about it being an integral part of India, the true story is that the Northeast is a different world from the rest of the country. Development there is negligible. Little has been done to integrate it with the rest of the country. Even transport links to that part of the country are tenuous. All this because the Northeast is not significant when it comes to vote-bank politics. The only times we start making nationalistic noises about the Northeast are during the R-Day parade when there are a few floats from there or when China flexes its muscle on Arunachal's borders. This cannot go on for long esp. when the resentment among the common man in those regions starts reaching worrying levels. Delhi needs to start behaving like a National Capital rather than being an abode for narrrow parochial interests. Irom Sharmila's protest symbolises all that is wrong with Delhi's approach to the less favoured parts of the country.
Now that Anna Hazare and his team have the common man's attention, they should visit Irom and highlight her struggle and if possible, put pressure on the central government to if not totally repeal the AFSPA, at least make it a bit more humane. After all, Manipuris are Indians too and they too deserve a life of dignity.
Agree with #3. Either use the Army or don't. She should attack the root cause which is armed isurgency.
Admire her grit and determination of purpose---repeal of AFSPA, which has become itself a terror to common man there. Her peaceful agitation has not invited media focus, which shows where the interest of the media houses is directed.
Wish Sharmila success. Let focus on her personal life be avoided. Her right to privacy must not be invaded and encroached rather respected.
I would be proud to have such a great soul as daughter of my country. India, especiallyIndian media should be ashamed not to have promoted her.
Her cause is just. AFSPA is against democracy and civil rights of all Indians (all Indians? yes, because next time you will be victim of AFSPA)).
Annas biggest drawback is that he is a male.
Whatever he does now, comparisons with the 'great' Irom are inevitable now. It has something to do with the sympathy a woman can evoke ( whatever her local and selfish, cause ), as compared to the male ( even if his cause is pressing and pan-national ).
IROM is not the only thing which has less impact on rest of India. Manipur has been "blockaded" by NAGAS for the last 10 days and the NATIONAL HIGHWAY through NAGALAND- the life line of MANIPUR- has been blocked by NAGAS but Indian Govt is not concerned. Would Indian Govt react similarly if Kashmir is blockaded at Jammu???
She is a heroine of modern India. It is tragic that people in the rest of the country were not aware of her struggle till now. Our ignorance about the difficulties of our fellow countrymen in the north east has to end. While I understand that the army has a difficult job at hand, surely the government can enter into a dialogue with her and evolve a road map for meeting her demands. Till that happens one can only salute this great soul, bestowed with courage and driven by compassion. God bless
Anna;s crusade against corruption and Irom's struggle against AFSPA are totally different issues.
While Anna has brought out an issue that pervades the entire country, the AFSPA really concerns only the disturbed areas. The AFSPA can be revoked in 30 min flat and the Army sent back to its barracks. But then the country's administrators (Politicians, babus and the police) need to get their act together. Thus Irom's problems need to be solved by Manipur CM and the country's HM.
In a way Anna's crusade will make things more transparent and efficient. No more corruption should be the aim. It will take time.
Irom is an outstanding lady, a great soul.
It is sad that middle class India and media only related to corruption movement (which has more to do with values) rather than the fight of a very courageous Irom's fight.
Many many pranams to great daughter of India.
An amazing woman, a real heroine of our times. That few people are aware of her satyagraha is symbolic and symtomatic of our ignorance and indifference to the North-eastern part of our country.
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