March 5, 2013
Civil rights activist Irom Sharmila. Photo: Ankit Agarwal
Are you unhappy with the charges leveled against you?
I am very disappointed about the case against me. Being brought to Delhi for the trial, I am wondering what is happening to me. They try to divert my mind. They try to weaken my spirit. Yet, in another sense, I am also very hopeful. If the government sees me as an Indian citizen and yet treats me this way, then this is a clear example of the discrimination that exits in India. After all, I am just following Gandhiji’s principles to achieve my goals. I am using a positive way for the movement, to fulfill my demand.
What do you think of the Justice Verma Committee’s recommendations on safety of women and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act?
I was happy about the Justice Verma Committee’s recommendations, but our democratic government needs to put in collective effort to undo the wrong they have done. I think what the government has decided is wrong. The Army should be controlled by the government and should follow the law. They should respect the Committee’s recommendations. I don’t want to be a critic, I am just talking on the basis of my observation of what has been going on for many years. I see how north-eastern students in colleges are attacked and this happens very frequently. I am extremely unhappy with the foundation of the AFSPA and how it works. The government is trying to suppress us through the AFSPA. I don’t agree with their tactics. The voice of the people needs to be heard as it is being heard at seminars all over the world.
You have been fighting a lonely battle against the AFSPA for over 12 years now. Have you thought of adopting a reconciliatory position?
Although it’s been over 12 years, I will not adopt a reconciliatory position. Nothing will change my stand and I will continue until my demand is fulfilled. Nothing will shake my resistance.
What gives you the strength to keep going?
It is the solidarity of those who have joined me in my struggle voluntarily that strengthens me. But with the proceedings, it will be very difficult for them to maintain solidarity.
- #IromSharmila appears before court, refuses to plead guilty #AFPSA #Suicide #Vaw (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Social activist Irom Sharmila to appear in Delhi court today #AFSPA #Vaw (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Irom Sharmila: I’m against a government that uses violence to govern (thehindu.com)