Imphal, Feb. 5: The National Alliance for People’s Movement, a group of rights activists from all over the country, will observe a weeklong Save Sharmila campaign from March 8, International Women’s Day, to March 14, the rights activist’s birthday.
The campaign is being launched to lend support to Irom Sharmila’s crusade for repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.
Faisal Khan, coordinator of the Alliance and Save Sharmila campaign, was here for two days to discuss and finalise the weeklong programme with members of the Imphal-based Just Peace Foundation. During the programme, the Alliance will hold seminars and deliberations in every state. “We will go to schools and colleges to sensitise students on the need to repeal the act. We will distribute leaflets in all languages and organise candle-lit vigils in all the states,” he said.
“We will conclude the Save Sharmila week with a daylong fast from 6am till 5pm in Imphal on March 14,” Khan told reporters today before leaving for Calcutta. A candle-lit vigil will be held in the evening.
This was Khan’s fifth visit to the city in the past one-and-a-half years and every time the government has denied him permission to meet Sharmila. The rights activists will seek permission to meet Sharmila on March 14. If it is not granted, they plan to force their way to the security ward of Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences, where she is kept. “We will court arrest if we are not allowed to meet Sharmila,” Khan said.
He added that he would file a petition to the state government under the RTI Act to seek reasons why he was not allowed to meet Sharmila.
Because of the Alliance’s support, Sharmila’s cause has been gaining support outside the Northeast and Kashmir.