Imphal, Aug. 30: Social activist Anna Hazare rocked the nation and shook the establishment to its foundation which Manipur’s civil rights activist Irom Sharmila could not with her 11-year fast.
However, this has not deterred and wavered the conviction of the marathon hunger striker, who has been kept confined in a small room at Imphal’s government-run Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences since 2000 and fed through her nose.
“I have now realised the difference in treatments given to him (Hazare) and me by the nation. But I don’t mind. I have firm faith in the almighty. One day he will deliver his judgement,” Shamila told reporters at the court of the chief judicial magistrate, Imphal East, R. Keishing, today.
The activist did not show any sign of disappointment or lack of conviction when she faced the court and the media. She was always smiling and answered a volley of questions from the media calmly and with confidence.
“I am also a citizen like Anna. But the Indian government has been refusing to recognise me as a citizen (of the country). However, I am not complaining. I do believe one day I will achieve my goal. I don’t have any doubt about this,” she said.
When news photographers continued to click her pictures for about 10 minutes, she calmly asked them “Isn’t that enough?”
Sharmila began her hunger strike demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, in the aftermath of killing of 10 civilians by Assam Rifles troops at Malom in Imphal West in November 2000.
Since then she has been in judicial custody, punctuated by two-three days’ freedom at the end of her one-year sentence for “attempting to commit suicide”.
Sharmila, who was in the court for a routine appearance today, was invited by Hazare to come to Delhi and join her campaign. She had invited Hazare to come to Imphal to lend his support, as she could not go to Delhi.
“I still want him to come to Manipur and it will be good if he could come and support my cause. However, I will not ask him to go on a hunger strike. I will like to leave it to his choice and conscience what he wants to do for my cause,” Sharmila said.
As the Centre and Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh “remained silent” on her struggle, Sharmila expressed her desire of intervention by international human rights bodies and the UN.
“Ibobi used to visit patients staying in rooms next to my cabin. He never visited me. I will no longer request Ibobi to listen to me. He has ignored me. Let him do so,” she said.
Irom Singhajit, elder brother of Sharmila, said it was because of racial discrimination that Sharmila was not getting any support from intellectuals, NGOs and national media, who gave full support to Hazare.