Srinagar: A group of activists on Sunday started
a 10-day long march from the Hazratbal shrine in Kashmir
Valley to express solidarity with Manipuri rights activist
Irom Sharmila and her cause for revocation of Armed Forces
Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
Led by noted social activist Medha Patkar and Magsaysay
awardee Sandeep Pandey, around 25 activists from across the
country began their march which will end in Manipur, where
Sharmila has been on an indefinite fast for the past 10 years,
demanding revocation of the AFSPA which provides immunity to
security forces operating in disturbed areas.
"We salute the sacrifice of Irom. She has put her life at
stake to safeguard the right to life of others. Anna Hazare`s
12-day fast shook the nation, I ask this question to the
people of the country as to why has not the 10 years of fast
by Irom Sharmila shaken anyone," Patkar asked here before
leaving for the road-trip to Manipur capital.
Irom Singhjit, the brother of Sharmila, who is also the
part of the caravan, vowed to continue the anti-AFSPA campaign
until the law is revoked.
The caravan will pass through 10 states and is scheduled
to reach Imphal on October 27.
The organisers have said that more than 70 rights groups
and organisations have extended support to the campaign,
demanding the Center to revoke the AFSPA from north-eastern
states and Jammu and Kashmir.