‘Sharmila is a victim, not an offender’
IMPHAL, August 22: Several organisations have condemned the re-arrest of irom Chanu Sharmila today.
In a press statement, the Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign, SSSC has condemned the re-arrest.
It said the arrest is shameful and undemocratic, continuing that both the State and the Union governments have not made a single attempt to open talks with her.
The government cannot suppress her thoughts, ideology, it said before questioning why the government is bent on arresting her on the claim of attempting suicide, while Sharmila has refuted the claim repeatedly.
It continued that Sharmila is a victim, not a law offender and added that AFSPA is the culprit. And in a democracy, it is shameful that the victim is being imprisoned instead of the culprit, it added.
The statement maintained that AFSPA must be repealed immediately and further demanded that the case of ‘attempt to suicide’ must be removed.
Until the demands are fulfilled, the struggle and demonstration will continue, it said.
Meanwhile, the Amnesty International India in a seperate statement has said that Sharmila’s arrest is a farcical exercise and a setback for human rights in India.
Kadambari Gladding, campaigner with Amnesty International India, who is in Imphal to follow the events, said, “For the past two days, Irom Sharmila had been visited by well-wishers and activists to share her joy in being released and expressing solidarity with her struggle against the AFSPA. Today, when the police arrived to take her away, a group of Manipuri mothers surrounded her to show their solidarity. But Sharmila was dragged away by the police in her frail state.”
Speaking to Amnesty International India after her release Irom Sharmila had said, "I feel gratitude for all the support, but my gratitude cannot be complete until AFSPA is repealed," said the statement.
“Instead of engaging with the important issues Irom Sharmila is raising, the Manipur government has disappointingly returned to its old ways of muffling dissent. The absurd move to re-arrest Irom Sharmila for ‘attempted suicide’ shows utter disdain for her constitutional rights,” said Shailesh Rai, programmes director at Amnesty International India, added the statement.