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India: Call for Action in Support of Irom sharmila

by Insaf, 10 October 2009

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Dear Friends,

On 2 November 2009, Manipur poet and activist Irom Sharmila, will enter the 10th year of her hunger strike demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

Introduced in 1958 the AFSPA grants the Indian military special powers throughout North-East India to:

  • Arrest citizens and enter their property without warrant;
  • Shoot and kill anyone on mere ‘suspicion’;
  • Enjoy immunity against legal action.

Under the cover of the Act the Indian armed forces have indulged in killing, torture, enforced disappearances and rape, bringing great shame to India and much misery to the people of Manipur. According to the government appointed Justice Jeevan Reddy Commission ‘the Act has become a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and high-handedness.’ The United Nations Committee on Racial Discrimination has urged the Indian government to repeal the law.

On 2 November, 2000 Irom Sharmila Chanu, a Manipuri poet decided to go on a hunger strike after the Indian Army massacred ten civilians in Malom, Manipur. On 6 November 2000 she was arrested by the police and charged with attempt to commit suicide under section 307 of the Indian Penal Code. Her health deteriorated gradually and she did not accept even a single drop of water.

On 21 November 2000 a plastic tube was inserted into her nose and liquid nutrient was inserted into her body. She has been surviving on this liquid diet and in solitary confinement as a high security prisoner for the last nearly ten years. She is routinely released every year only to be re-arrested again. This ritual has been going on for a decade now.

In solidarity with her local civil society, particularly the women, have been on a relay hunger strike since December 10, 2008. On the occasion of her struggle entering the tenth year, they are poised to celebrate her resilience as a "Festival of Hope, Justice and Peace". We the following organisations are convinced that Sharmila’s struggle is not just to defend the human rights in Manipur, but in reality it is reshaping the very foundations of democracy in India. Therefore, it is important that all those who defend justice, peace and democracy to support her struggle. Hence, we wish to celebrate Sharmila’s courage and resilience as her struggle enters the 10th year from 2 to 6 November 2009 . We call upon all people’s movements, women’s organisations and human rights forums to initiate the following actions:

  1. Protest or symbolic hunger fast in support of Sharmila’s demand to repeal AFSPA on November 2nd or November 6th.
  2. Protest in front of Indian embassies all over the world.
  3. Organise students in schools and colleges to write poems in support of Sharmila’s demands. These can be publicised through
  4. Organise Human Rights Film Festivals in support of Sharmila Irom from November 2nd to November 6. A package of films will be available through INSAF, insafdelhi(at) phone: 011-65663958
  5. Highlight all cases of human rights violations in Manipur and the North-East India
    6. Popularise the poster for action available at from October 15th onwards (the poster can be freely used to be printed and circulated according to your local needs.)
  6. Write letters to Chief Minister of Manipur and Prime minister of India with copies to solidarity at and hramanipur at
  7. Organise public meetings in support of Sharmila Irom’s demand to repeal AFSPA.
  8. Organise book reading sessions / interaction / discussion / talks with the latest book on Sharmila by Deepti Priya Mehrotra called `Burning Bright’ (published by Penguin Books). Priya Mehrotra can be contacted at: 9711793492, or 011-26011078
  9. Any other action you may think appropriate to express solidarity with the tenth year of struggle by Sharmila Irom.

Please inform details about your actions with photographs to solidarity(at) so that a wider section of people can be informed.

Please circulate this appeal to all your friends so that a strong campaign can be initiated to generate maximum pressure to repeal AFSPA.

We do hope that you will do everything within your means to make this campaign successful. | Adishakti Lokbikash Sangthan (Orissa) | Adivasi Adhikar Abhijan Mayurbhanj (Orissa) | Adivasi Bikash Parisad (Orissa) | Adivasi Chetona Manch(Orissa) | Adivasi Moolvasi Asistva Raksha Manch, Jharkhand | AID, Delhi Chapter | Akhra, Jharkhand | Anchalik Bikash Parisad(Orissa) | Anchalik Jungle Surakshya Sangthan (Orissa) | Anchalika Adivasi Unnayan Parishad(Orissa) | Ancholia Unnayan Parishad(Orissa) | Ancholiko Unnayan Sangh(Orissa) | Ancholiko Vikas Parisad(Orissa) | ANHAD | Anti SEZ struggle organisation, Kakinada, AP | Antyodaya Chetana Mandal (Orissa) | Balmianni Kutomi (Orissa) | BHARATIYA MUSLIM MAHILA ANDOLAN | Bharatiya Muslim Women’s Movement | Centre For Research on New International Economic Order (Orissa and TN) | Citizen for human rights movement, Tamil Nadu | Citizens’ Committee on Communal Harmony | Common Concern, Orissa | Dalit Women Forum, Secunderabad, AP | Deo-mali Mahila Sangh(Orissa) | EKTA ( committee for communal amity) Mumbai | Forum for Women’s Rights & Development (FORWORD), Tambaram, TN |FOrum Kerala | Gana Chetana Sangthan (Orissa) | Ganglamaa Vikash Manch(Orissa) | Ganjam Jilla Adivasi Manch, Ganjam, Orissa | Gram Sahajog(Orissa) | Gramanchal Bikash Parisad(Orissa) | Himalayan Niti Abhiyan, HP | Ho Munda Bhasa Bikash Manch (Orissa) | Human Rights Alert, Manipur | Human Rights Law Network, Delhi | Indian Association for Women’s Studies ( IAWS) | INSAF, Delhi | Institute of Human Rights Education, Chennai | Integrated Rural Development of Weaker Sections in India (Orissa, AP and TN) | Jahar Surkshya Manch (Orissa) | Jan Pahal , Madhya Pradesh | Japadhar Bachao Andolan , Orissa | Jatadhar Banchao Andolan | Jungle Jivan Surakshya Parisad(Orissa) | Just Peace Foundation, Manipur | Kabani -The Other Direction | Kasti Dakua Adivasi Mohasangha(Orissa) | Kerala Swatantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation | Kisan Morcha, Bikaner, Rajasthan Dalit Sena, Jodhpur, Rajasthan | Kriti Team, Delhi | Kuvi Bdayu (Orissa) | Kuvi Kulomi (Orissa) | LOK MANCH, Aurangabad, Biha | Loka Adhikar Manch | Loka Unnayan Sangha (Orissa) | Mahendragiri Adivasi Adhikar Samiti (Orissa) | Mahila Morcha, Banswara, Rajasthan | Malaygiri Bikash Manch(Orissa) | Moving Republic, Bangalore | Mukti Sanghthan(Orissa) | Munigiri Gana Sangthan (Orissa) | Nari Bikash-Women Organisation(Orissa) | National Adivasi alliance | National Alliance of People’s Movements | National Alliance of Women Organisations, Orissa | National Coastal Women’s Movement | National Hawkers Federation | New Socialist Alternative (Bangalore) | Niyamgiri Surakshya Abhijan | Niyamgiri Surakshya Manch, Orissa | Niyamgiri Surkshya Manch(Orissa) | Odisha Adivasi Adhikar Abhijan (Orissa) | Orissa Development Action Forum (Orissa) | Orissa Human Rights Forum, Bhadrakh District,Orissa | Pahadi Sangrami Manch(Orissa) | Pathabhedam Magazine, Calicut | Peoples Movement Against Nuclear Energy , Koodankulam | Peoples watch, Madurai | POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, Orissa | Project level committee (Orissa) | Reach Out , Delhi | Roopankan , Indore, Madhya Pradesh | Rural Action for Development (Orissa) | Rusimal Anchalik Unnayan Parishad (Orissa) | Sahaya(Orissa) | SAJAG ( Sahariya Jan Gath Bandhan ) | Sajukodi Dhorti Surkhya Porisod(Orissa) | Samajik Vikasa Kendram (Orissa) | Samajika Parivartan Vikas Kendra (Orissa) | Samvedan Sanskritik Manch, Ahmedabad, Gujarat | SANGAT, Delhi | Saura Adivasi Ahikar Abhijan (Orissa) | Seva Bharati (Orissa) | Shaheen (Women Resource Centre), Hyderabad, AP | Shakti Sangthan(Orissa) | SICHREM, Bangalore | Socio Economic Development Programme (Orissa and West Bengal) | Students Christian Movement |SUDHANTHRA, rehabilitation centre for victims of domestic violence and torture, Madurai | Theeradesa Mahilavedi, Kerala | VIBGYOR Film Collective | Visual Search, Bangalore | Zailaitmu(Orissa) I Kheti Virasat Mission (Punjab)