Thursday, May 07, 2015

"The Iron-Woman"

“Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country.” - Margaret Thatcher.

Good Afternoon!

This is going to be my 50th blog and I thought I should make it special by dedicating it to Irom Sharmila, the Iron Lady of Manipur agitating against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, imposed in Manipur. She started the battle against the Draconian Act in 2 December, 2000, when the 10 innocent's civilians were lined up while they were waiting for bus at bus stop and mercilessly executed by Army. After that unfortunate incident, she started her indefinite Hunger strike unless the government revokes the Armed Forces Special Power Act imposed in Manipur. Unfortunately and till date, the government won't listen to the voice of Irom Sharmila.

We are the generation of 21st century Manipuri and yet still chained by the Draconian Act. It is matter of fact which needs our undivided attention. We are not born to live under the cloud of fear and suspicion. The army believes revoking the Act can compromise their duty to maintain peace. I do not have any personal grudges against the Army stationed in Manipur other than respect. But what I fear is the power they are armed with in which they are not accountable to civilian court. Quoting one of the parameters of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, "Army officers have legal immunity for their actions. There can be no prosecution, suit or any other legal proceeding against anyone acting under that law. Nor is the government's judgment on why an area is found to be disturbed subject to judicial review."

This doesn't make sense because I cannot fathom the fact that a person carrying a gun whose actions on duty is not accountable to law. The Act itself is a violation of Human rights. The truth about Manipur is that reports of encounter killing (notably known as UGs shot dead) in local newspaper are almost like the daily dose of Kardashians family in entertainment section. And so far I have never come across any Army officers or police officers implicated for custodial deaths and fake encounters. In my view, Irom Sharmila movement is not about stopping the Indian Army or the Police from safeguarding the nation interest and its citizens. Rather she is fighting against the Act that violates our basic human rights as well as individual’s freedom.

The attention garnered by Irom Sharmila in highlighting the issue nevertheless would bring back the lives of many innocents killed in fake encounters and custodial deaths. But her fight for revoking the Act can save many precious innocent lives from atrocious death. Justice will fair only if the Act is revoked from our constitution completely. And it will also be a fair justice for all the parents who have lost their children whereas the killers are still out there protected by the Act. The obvious attitude of central government towards North East states of India is no better the British Raj rather treating the region like Polydactyly. I just hope we all start cultivating a mind beyond geographical and colors.

Food for thought: I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved. B. R. Ambedkar.

Thank you.

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