HUMANISTS’ ASSOCIATION (Estd: 11.09.1993): A fresh Call for Repealing AFSPA

Irom Sharmila

HUMANISTS” ASSOCIATION, formed on 11.9.1993 has just completed 18 years and attained majority yesterday—11th September, 2011. While we have quite a long list of achievements – like demanding & establishing ‘Humanism’ as an alternative religion, promoting and assisting body donation for medical purposes, protesting against witch-branding & witch-hunting, protesting against animal sacrifice on religious occasions, against female feticide, campaigning for justice on many instances of violation of human rights e.g. in Manipur, Kashmir, Jangalmahal… the list is long. On many cases our members could bring justice with the help of police and local administration. On many— creating public awareness did the job. Special thanks to our members in Bankura, Purulia, Birbhum, Midnapur, Hooghly and of course to our over-all mentor Prabir Ghosh, the President of H.A. without whose guidance and intervention many difficult disputes would have remained unresolved.
The list itself speaks a lot about the condition of this so-called fast-developing nation. And it shows how much still needs to be done! And the fact that still women are being killed as witches also points towards the ignorance of the city-bred educated who worship female deities as goddesses, and then go for killing the female child. In this land full of contradictions our work will never end.

But people are waking up. We saw it in the amazing reaction of the masses when Anna Hazare was illegally arrested. We saw millions of people being with Anna for 12 long days of his fasting which began a new era in Indian history.

So this is a time to hope, to carry on, to be vigilant forever, to be aware at least and to speak out. NEVER HESITATE TO PROTEST.

This year – at this moment our attention is on another fighter Irom Sharmila Chanu, whose fast in Manipur is now in its 11th year running. Let us remember these facts—

1. Young Sharmila saw 10 innocent people who were standing at the bus-stop waiting for a bus, being killed by Armed forces in broad daylight.

2. She started protest in her home by fasting. Why? Because—

3. The Armed forces could kill for no reason and with no fear of judgment because they had ‘special powers’.

4. She drew the attention of the nation – or tried to – that there is this act called AFSPA which needs to be abolished, as it can be and is being misused heavily.

Was her demand unjustified? Was her protest punishable? Then why is she in jail? Why is she being force-fed for 11 years? Is attempt to suicide still a punishable act in our country? No. Then why is she imprisoned? When Anna’s protest drew millions, why Sharmila’s protest is not drawing crowds?

Yes, it does. Sharmila’s name is now known worldwide. It is like a soar on the image of our nation. But our leaders are not aware of it! Why then AFSPA still exists– an act that gives unreasonable, unbridled power to armed men? In 2004 Jeevan Reddy commission appointed by the PM gave its report to Mr. Manmohan Singh. It said the normal life in Manipur is disrupted because of the act, AFSPA. It can be withdrawn. Then – more than six years have passed. Is this a sort of joke? Is the protest of a thin girl in a remote, neglected corner of the country, filled with weak, undernourished men and women to be totally ignored?

We feel, that after Anna’s success in awakening the nation, Sharmila.s issue became more prominent, more deserving, more blatant – putting us all to shame. It is a shame for our country. It is a shame for us if we do not act, if we do not join the protest. Let us demand unanimously


Read this:–

Jeevan Reddy Committee recommends repeal of AFSPA

Source: The Sangai Express / Siddharth Varadarajan ( The Hindu)

New Delhi, October 08: On Friday, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil declined to make public the report of a high-level official panel tasked with reviewing the provisions of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

He had good reasons.

The 147-page report of the Justice BP Jeevan Reddy Committee – a copy of which is now with The Hindu – unambiguously recommends the repeal of the controversial law against which people in Manipur and elsewhere in the North-East have been agitating for several years.

“The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, should be repealed,” it notes in its recommendations.
“The Act is too sketchy, too bald and quite inadequate in several particulars”.
The report adds that the impression gathered by the Committee during the course of its work is that “the Act, for whatever reason, has become a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and highhandedness

Let us spend the next 3 months:–

11 Sept (Humanists’ Day) to

10 December (Human Rights Day) by being with Sharmila

Spreading the news—speaking out – protesting—demanding—attending signature campaigns.

Anna has showed us the way – now we need Anna with us on this issue. Sharmila deserves our immediate attention. Otherwise sooner or later we may all face the same tragedy. This draconian law may touch anybody & everybody sooner or later if not resisted more strongly! Now!


Best wishes

Sumitra Padmanabhan

(on behalf of Humanists’ Association)

[Please check our article dated 5 September, 2011 on NAPM & follow the details for a more successful and continuous campaign. This is no time for useless sentiments. Some papers are highlighting Sharmila’s love life etc and are silent about other facts.]


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