Hazare And Sharmila Crusades, Posers Raised: Why Different Yardsticks

IMPHAL, Apr 11: Though the whole State supports social activist Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement, many have expressed serious concern over the Centre’s quick response to his demand to pass the Lok Pal Bill while on the other hand maintaining an air of indifference to the more than ten years of fast launched by Irom Sharmila Chanu to scrap the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

Following Hazare’s hunger fast at Delhi to give more teeth to the present Lok Pal Bill and to incorporate someone from the civil society to be the co-chairman, the Centre quickly complied with it saying the Bill will be introduced in the Parliament during the Monsoon session.

Thirty-nine-year-old Sharmila had on November 4 last year completed ten-years of hunger strike against AFSPA, a standing statute majority of the people of insurgency-hit Manipur term as draconian and repressive. The Act gives unbridled powers to the armed forces even to the extent of shooting on mere suspicion.

“My sister has completed ten years of her struggle against the oppressive military Act and she is still continuing and none of the country’s leaders have taken serious concern over her cause. She is fighting in a democratic manner for the people of the country who have been victimized by the Act,” said Sharmila’s elder brother Irom Singhajit today evening.

“The whole country was shaken when   Hazare began his fast at New Delhi and in no time the Centre complied with his demand. We, in fact, truly support and laud Hazare’s campaign against corruption. But Sharmila’s decade old hunger fast to save the innocent people from the continuing gross violation of human rights perpetrated by the armed forces has been left unattended. Such discriminatory attitude towards the people of the North East tells a story in itself,” Singhajit added.

Echoing Singhajit, Nimaichand Luwang , president of the Manipur People’s Party ( MPP) said the denial of Sharmila’s  ten years campaign against AFSPA and the sudden acceptance of Hazare’s  following his hunger strike, which lasted for a few days, sends out a clear message that the people living in the North East do not figure in the consciousness of the Centre

The Centre too should stop its air of arrogance and indifference, and scrap the draconian Act immediately, Luwang said.

“Notwithstanding this, we in the MPP fully support Hazare’s strong campaign against corruption. We need thousands of Hazares in Manipur where corruption is rampant, “Luwang, also a former Minister, said.

The State unit BJP too expressed dissatisfaction over the Centre’s sharp difference in its outlook towards the campaigns carried out by Hazare and Sharmila.

“ When Sharmila staged her hunger fast at New Delhi a few years back she was arrested and thrown back to Manipur and Hazare, who  took the same step at the same place was not arrested and instead his demand was acceded to by the Centre,” Laimayum Basanta Sharma, secretary (media cell) of the State BJP said .

“As the Centre complied with Hazare’s demand which we also fully support, ASPPA should also be repealed in no time,” Basanta said.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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