Ever heard about ‘Irom Sharmila’? Probably not and why would be bothered to know about her, we are more or less preoccupied with our daily lives, soap operas and reality TV shows. But the reality is that ‘Irom Sharmila’ is an ordinary woman with iron strong will-power. This 37 year old is on hunger strike for more than 10 years, reason, she is protesting against the draconian law Armed Forces Special Provisions Act, which virtually gives power to the security person to arrest, jailed or even encounter people on the mere basis of suspicion of being an insurgent. This legislation is in effect in two states Jammu & Kashmir and Manipur, remember Manipur.
Manipur, a small state tucked in India’s north-east, a state which I regret to say India and Indians forgot. That is why state which is going through turbulence since July because of a fake encountered which was carried out by the forces there and fakeness of which was telecast in national media still hasn’t elicited any response from the Centre. Irom Sharmila is from Manipur, and she is protesting the same provisions which gives the security forces the power to drag out civilians, brand them as militants and encounter them; all order to earn medal. No wonder this year Manipur Police won 74 gallantry medals, compared to 138 for the entire country.
Manipur is in state of despair, with rampart poverty, people are screwed by the triad of Politicians, Insurgents and Security Forces. Each has their own reasons, own explanations. Each ready to grab the pie which centre throws at the state and forgets. Rampant corruption ensures that contracts are grabbed either by politicians or by the insurgents. Insurgents who claim to fight for the people fund their movement from same people, by kidnapping them, killing them and robbing them. The business is good, and it pays well.
Irom Sharmila is crying for peace. She is in hunger strike since 2000 when security forces killed 10 people from her village without any explanation. And these things are not uncommon there, and the last one which was shown in national television has crippled the state for last few months. But how could we remember that, after all, that news was adjusted between the news about a program ‘Rakhi ka Swayambar’ and some other news program on reality show, no wonder we got it erased. Death of a person is tragedy but death of many is statistic, Dictator Stalin has rightly observed, and it is a statistics in Manipur not tragedy. If it have had happened in Delhi, Government might have being dismissed. But it pays to have such government there; corruption has always being a very big business.
Few weeks ago, an editorial appeared in the Chinese journal which asked the authority to break up India into 50 countries, all they require is a little push. With our ignorance of such magnitude, a small puff would be enough. They need not do the hard work, because by ignoring our state we have created the groundwork. People like ‘Irom Sharmila’ are just fighting to avert such situation.
But why should you be bothered?
© Tarun Mitra