ANTI-AFSPA RALLY FROM MANDI HOUSE METRO STATION
TO JANTAR MANTAR
TO DEMAND POLITICAL PARTIES TO TAKE UP ISSUE OF REPEALING AFSPA
On 30th march, an anti-AFSPA rally was organised from Mandi House metro station to Jantar Mantar. The rally was jointly organised by Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign, AISA, AIPWA, RYA, DSF, JNUSU, NEFIS, Voices against 377, NAPM and Right to water campaign.
The rally was organised as a part of an effort to create a political pressure for repeal of AFSPA in this election season. The organisers of the programme state the objective:
Ravi Nitesh of Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign(SSSC) said that the draconian and inhuman law of AFSPA has been exisiting for almost 60 years now, Irom Sharmila has been on a hunger-strike for 14 years but the Government remains unbothered. It has not taken any steps to even talk to her. Almost all major parties in the country have been silent about the everyday horror in these states. But through our rally, we will try to challenge this silence.
Devika Mittal, a DU student and core member of Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign said that while all political parties are talking about development, secularism and corruption, they must know that all these claims and promises hold no meaning in AFSPA states. There can be no development in AFSPA states without the revocation of AFSPA. AFSPA is also the face of corruption in these states.
Rupam, a DU student from Assam, stated that the promise of a better future is intertwined with the repeal of AFSPA from these states. You cannot ignore this issue. Repeal of AFSPA is the only way forward. It is the only way forward for a better India.
V Arun Kumar, student and member of AISA, talked about the other efforts that were taken. In efforts to urge political parties to take up this issue of AFSPA, an open letter issued by Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign and endorsed by many human rights’ activists and organizations across the country was written to political parties including AAP, Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress, left parties, regional parties of Jammu & Kashmir and North-east. We had also requested academicians and columnists to write on this issue in newspapers to highlight this issue.
After the rally, a public meeting was held at Jantar Mantar.
Anubhuti from JNUSU talked about the human rights’ violations enabled by AFSPA. She talked about the shame of mass-rape case of Kunan Poshpora, brutal rap and murder of Manorama Devi and other cases that the democracy carries.
Ram Mohan Rai, Social activist from Haryana, talked about how AFSPA is anti-democractic and everyone who believes in democracy must speak out against it.
Students from Kashmir and North-east shared their experiences. Raies ul-haq, a DU student also talked about other similar state-repressive laws. He talked about the draconian PSA in Kashmir.
Talha from Campus Front of India also argued that laws like AFSPA are unacceptable.
During the programme, the Irom Sharmila scholarship that has been set up in the honour of Irom Sharmila and is granted to a post-graduate student who comes from an area with internal armed conflict was also awarded. It was awarded by Dr. Deepti Priya Mehrotra, author of Burning Bright – Irom Sharmila and the struggle for peace in Manipur and Deepti Sharma of Saheli to Seram Rojesh, a phD student of Delhi School of Economics. He is from the AFSPA state of Manipur. Rojesh has tried to highlight this issue both through his research works and through activism.
Neha Tickoo, an artist, had also presented a poetry-dance performance on the struggle and cause of Irom Sharmila.
Rituparna from Voices against 377 talked about how this law challenges the notions of equality, democracy and justice.