Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Seminar on AFSPA and protest in solidarity with Sharmila Irom Chanu

Got the below message on the Pedestrian Pictures mailing list. Please spread the info and attend the seminar if you can.

I strongly support the repeal of AFSPA and ending the military rule that currently exists in several states of the Union. I believe AFSPA in its present form is a shame on the Republic.

On Manipur, while I support the Naga demand for Nagalim (either within the Indian Union or as an independent state), things have to be decided only by a referendum across the region. But Irom Sharmila is certainly a hero. I also think Assam Rifles should either be disbanded or made into a regiment of the Army and withdrawn from policing duties in the north-east.


We would like to invite to attend a seminar on Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and protest in solidarity with Irom Sharmila, who is on a hunger fast for more than ten years in Manipur. Irom Sharmila is being force fed through the nose by the administration. Many official bodies of Government of India as well as international bodies including the UN have demanded the repeal of AFSPA. However, this draconian act is responsible for murder, torture and rape of hundreds of innocent people every year in Manipur.

In this context, many civil society organizations in Bangalore have joined together to initiate a campaign against AFSPA in solidarity with Irom Sharmila. A seminar on AFSPA will be held at the SCM House, Mission Road, Bangalore from 9.30 am to 4 pm.

We invite you to join us in a seminar on AFSPA, speakers from north east including Manipur will be sharing their concerns. 'Le Mashalien' a one woman play on Sharmila Irom by Ojas SV will also be staged during this meeting at 4 pm. 'April 6th', a film on the plight of the widows of Manipur whose husbands were murdered by the Indian Army will also be screened at the venue at 1.30 pm.

Venue: SCM House, Mission Road, Bangalore

Date: February 3, 2011

Time: 9.30 am to 4pm

The main speakers are:

Prof. Bimol (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Babloo (Human Rights Alert, Imphal)

Nitan (Extra Judicial Execution Victim Families’ Association Manipur)

Chandam Netraj (Director of documentary film, `April 6th).

And other speakers from various organisations of Bangalore.

A protest in solidarity with Sharmila Irom Chanu is also organised at 5-7pm, Town Hall, Bangalore.

The events are organised in Bangalore by Peoples’ Solidarity Concerns, SICHREM, Pedestrian Pictures, Open Space, New Socialist Alternative, Students Christian Movement of India, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, Visual Search, Indian Social Institute, Moving Republic and other orgnisations. We request you to support the events with adequate media coverage within your means.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Last year a similar conference of NGOs in Bangalore presented Irom Sharmila with a lifetime achievement award. This year the Conference made a statement along the lines of we show deep concern and solidarity with the people of the North East and recommend to our Government it repeal AF(SP)A. The problem being that if the consequence of disappearing on average 500 Manipuris per year for the past twenty five years with untold rapes gangrapes, state sponsored kidnappings and extortions all decriminalized in Manipur, so the CBI cannot even investigate allegations, is for the Civil Society of Bangalore annual meeting to lodge a strongly worded criticism once a year, the GoI can take pride that India is still the largest democracy in the world and look how tolerant they are of criticism.

If you pressed some of the NGOs in private their best case scenario is for Irom Sharmila to die or be murdered while in custody. I don't share their hopes. But as the Satyagraha depends on shaming the decent to act more decently there is a need to remind your elected leaders continually that they are behaving shamefully for a nation that demands the right to sit on the UN security Council to preserve Justice and Peace among other nations.

So I am asking you, now the Conference is over and the leaders have made their recommendations and disbanded for a year not to forget her, since you also believe her to be a true hero. If you can agitate for her and help shame your Government into action then I can assure you of an invite to our wedding. Because when she is free I am more than happy for you to forget all about her and allow her to enjoy the human rights for which she has been fighting so long for her people. And if you create a real stink there in Bengaluru then I promise you a place at the High Table. Unless we decide to elope.

But I have no desire to shame you. If you cannot do more. Then don't. Me I am waiting that's my main job for now. For me it's personal.

Desmond Coutinho
Imphal Classic Hotel