IMPHAL, November 5: “India declares herself as the biggest democratic country in the world; but on the other hand India government has been neglecting the voices of its people of North East for more than 20 years and it is a great shame for the government of India in front of other nations of the world.” This was said by Sharmila’s brother, Irom Singhajit, speaking at the ‘9th Khunnai Kanba Numit’ observation today at Lamyanba Sanglen, Palace Compound jointly by Kanleipak Loinasillon Apunba Marup (KALM), NH 53 Kanglei Ching-Tam Leima Lup (NAHAKAL) and Just Peace Foundation (JPF). Irom Singhajit speaking at the function said that common people of the state are often harassed by security forces in the name of ‘counter insurgency operations.’ By imposing this act (AFSPA), it has given security forces the right to use their power in an inhuman manner. AFSPA has been imposed in the state since the early 80’s and from that time the people of the state has been agitating against the draconian law but till today no positive outcome can be seen. He questioned to India government on why AFSPA is imposed only in the North East States and Jammu & Kashmir, whereas other insurgency hit states like Chhattisgarh where many security forces are being killed in regular basis by the Maoist, are not imposed of the act.
He also questioned whether the mainland India considers north east states as second class citizens of India or is it because of the difference in skin colour and physical appearance that they are treating us like this. Criticizing the MLAs and Ministers of the state, he said that all the 60 MLAs are not willing to raise their voices against AFSPA simply because they are puppets of India government who dances on the tune of the centre government. He urged the people that the time has come for all us to teach a lesson to our MLAs and fight collectively against the AFSPA for the sake of our generations to come before its’ too late. Giving his keynote address of the function, convenor of KALM, KH Okendro said that since the year 2004, they have been observing November 5, the day hunger striker Sharmila began her hunger strike, as “Khunnai Kanba Numit” as a mark of respect to the hunger striker.
Sharmila, who is on hunger strike, has now completes 12 years, demanding repeal of the draconian law AFSPA from the state, he further said. Sharmila started her hunger strike on November 5, after the Malom incident where many innocent civilians were killed by security forces acting under the power of the inhuman act, AFSPA, he added. The function was attended by National Awardee, Dr Th Chandra as chief guest and IC Asem, president, KALM, Thiyam (O) Silleima, president, NAHAKAL as presidium members.