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Irom Sharmila ordered released

A Manipur court ruled that Irom Sharmila's hunger strike in protest of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is not attempted suicide, and that therefore it's illegal to hold her on that charge--and, according to news sources, she has been released. (Story in the Guardian here.)

Imprisoning her on suicide charges was always wrongheaded, but this release doesn't address she's actually protesting, which is a law that grants the military impunity in its actions in "disturbed areas." What about the AFSPA? It's being reported that Sharmila has said she'll continue her fast, that she wants Modi to repeal the law--she's putting her faith in him.

A Times of India story said that the court ruled that "the state government may take up appropriate measure for her health and safety, such as nose feeding in case she decides to continue with her fast," which doesn't match my idea of an unconditional release--unless Sharmila herself asks for that assistance, which she may well--after all, she has permitted this feeding from the start.

I want Sharmila to succeed in her cause, but I want her to survive, too. It takes intensity and single-mindedness to maintain a protest for so long. Sometimes there are flurries of journalistic coverage, but there are long days and weeks with no signs of support, with only hospital staff for company. Through all that, for years and years, she's been steadfast. But does that single-mindedness keep you from seeing other possible approaches? Do you see only the one path? Does the path end up taking precedence over the cause? Or is that a treacherous question? Honestly, I don't know. She's a remarkable person. I think. . . I will trust her judgment and not second-guess her.

Sharmila face


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 20th, 2014 04:44 pm (UTC)
What a painful, horrible situation. I hope she succeeds.
Aug. 20th, 2014 08:33 pm (UTC)
Me too.
Aug. 20th, 2014 04:46 pm (UTC)
As you know personal if others want to make political points that's fine I am not going to argue the toss nobody who posts here gets to vote in Manipur so they can think as they please. She won't go for force feeding out of prison. Or I'd be completely surprised by that one. She has never asked for force feeding she usually doesn't resist. But on those occasions when she has resisted they have never tried to persist. I think this time she appears to want to bring things to a head. So either Imphalites turn up to support her or they don't. Or the Central Government could intervene or at least meet with her and the they never have before though this is a new Government BJP so they get the one chance. Some of the press in India is clearly paid press. All the local news and the ones that spout rubbish. They seem to treat a rearrest as some kind of Government plot. Whereas this dropping of charges so that no one is brought to account none of the previous fourteen years is challenged and there have already been rulings of torture against the Goverment of Manipur that will never see light of day. They have plans for a bombing campaign on communal lines my guess is they will make it look like either the Nagas or a Bishnapuri Muslim group commit an atrocity I am guessing against Meitei schoolchildren doesn't have to be could be crowded market place. And then they'll back ups a string of IEDs planted by Imphal Police against Mainland police officers or paramilitaries. Then standard rioting and arson of government buildings. The main high way to Imphal from Assam will be completely shut down so very few goods will come in or out. This could go on for months before Delhi worked there was a problem in Manipur but by the time they do they will come with the Indian Army to restore balance. Manipuris are a broken people they haven't got what it takes to stand beside her. She is in the Death Tent surrounded by fake Paibees under the control of a local gangster if naming him upsets you I have named him enough. If she dies do you think I care he will die soon also we all do. When Jesus said he was going to Jerusalem only one said let us go to Jerusalem so that we can die with him. And when the time came everyone ran away apart from a few women and the one Jesus loved. I hope that she is rearrested I hope they haven't removed the oesophagal feeding tube. If she dies I haven't really thought about what it would mean. I don't have anyone else and I know how childish that sounds. There is nothing foreigners can do. I used to think democracy mattered but no country really cares about human rights. It is very rare for a human being to be so brave. She is prepared to die alone in a tent and have really vicious nasty men take over her legacy and claim her for their own. Though for some strange reason she believes people will discover the truth after she is dead. I don't think people really care. It's an interesting story to talk about for a while but it's not your story and there are many like her well not many if you think there are seven billion of us. but there are some others. I don't care about them. I have met some very vicious two faced cheap nasty human beings who lie to your face and then boast about their human rights record and how wonderful they are. Some do this in petty ways. And I have met complete nobodies who took risks for her. She isn't dead yet. And all the people who could help her now are weak and cowardly. I believe in God only because there is no other show in town. Or I don't really understand the whole Electron orbital field theory and not sure if that helps with a prison break. In their weakness God is strong. If they are going to kill her they will do it quickly and be on their way. I hope something happens soon so that their plan is delayed. It's a nasty vicious frightening country. You have no idea how lucky you are those of us who live in the free world and have some money. She never had enough time to be with me and make me a better person. She isn't dead yet. This is the closest they have come to killing her and to passing it off as a victory with pretty much full press support and national indifference.
Aug. 20th, 2014 09:53 pm (UTC)
She is an amazing woman, and yes, to trusting her judgement, but I think there must be ways we can support her - even if it's just asking our own governments to push the Indian government to repeal the AFSPA. Not meaning co-opting her struggle, which I can understand is a thing that can happen, as Desmond's post notes.
Aug. 20th, 2014 09:57 pm (UTC)

I agree entirely. Trusting to her judgment for how she wants to carry out her struggle doesn't at all mean that I'd rule out other means of fighting to end AFSPA--lots of different approaches and actions, in concert, will help.

Aug. 22nd, 2014 02:13 am (UTC)
I don't know... I'm not saying this is a good idea, because as above about outsiders with good intentions, but:

The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who has recently made strong speeches about women's rights, has a website where people who register can send a message. He is a very tech-aware and social-media-aware politician, and may be open to hearing via such means. Also, he is a new PM, i.e. not responsible for introducing the legislation, and so may be more amenable to repealing it,or even part of it (i.e. the part which guarantees immunity from criminal prosecution to military personnel in "emergency" districts.

The website is at: http://www.narendramodi.in/ and then the "Connect with Narendra Modi" button
Aug. 22nd, 2014 03:20 am (UTC)
Thank you for this.
Aug. 21st, 2014 12:34 am (UTC)
I heard this yesterday on BBC and I thought of you. It's about time.
Aug. 21st, 2014 12:45 am (UTC)
Thanks for thinking of me!
Aug. 21st, 2014 01:33 am (UTC)
heh, now that I re-read that, it sounds weird, but I didn't know about her till I read your posts, so thank you for that.
Aug. 21st, 2014 01:34 am (UTC)
Nah, it doesn't sound odd at all--and it's really flattering . . . which, itself maybe sounds weird, but you know?
Aug. 21st, 2014 11:32 am (UTC)
I also hadn't known of Irom Sharmila until you wrote about her, and now I can rejoice at her release. And pray for thoroughgoing peace.
Aug. 21st, 2014 12:31 pm (UTC)
I'm very happy that the government has decided not to hold her on spurious charges, but I worry that it means they no longer care whether she lives or dies. The imprisonment was wrong--but in a heavy-handed way, it showed concern for her individual life (though lack of respect for the many lives on whose behalf she was protesting).

I don't know how most hunger strikes end. … I suppose it wouldn't matter, even if I did, because each case is unique.

She says now that she will fight force feeding (which she hasn't in the past). It means--or I think it means--that the long impasse has to end. Either the government takes some action on AFSPA that satisfies her, or--she dies? Or maybe the government finds some excuse to make her continue with force feeding, after all.

It's my sense, in all my years of life, that governments rarely suddenly and completely drop something (and yet I think maybe sometimes they do? I wish more examples of things in either direction sprang to mind). I find it hard to believe that the Indian government will suddenly, completely, give up this law. But maybe they will? I hope somehow, something will happen, there'll be some movement, that'll mean Sharmila can live.

… I want to care as much about all the people who've suffered under AFSPA as I care about her, personally. That's what *she'd* want. But I latch on to the particular, to her as an individual.
Aug. 22nd, 2014 12:25 pm (UTC)
I was going to say that we don't know about cases where the government, hoping an issue or its prominent proponents will drop, and so ignore it, because when the government does nothing* it can so easily fall from easily accessed information streams. And I think that happens pretty often.

* Except, perhaps, discourage journalists from covering issues and proponents.

And now, of course, Irom Sharmila is arrested again. :(

I will stop. I hope I haven't already violated the feelings that led to your latest post being no-comment. And I apologize.
Aug. 22nd, 2014 12:36 pm (UTC)
It's okay; it's just that last night I was exhausted and had no more talking in me, and besides, I feel like people don't really know what to say about this. I felt I had to post the update so people who are following know what the current situation is, but…. buhhhh.

But I feel marginally more energized this morning.
Aug. 22nd, 2014 12:49 pm (UTC)
Marginally is good, for what it's worth. :D
Aug. 22nd, 2014 12:51 pm (UTC)
♥ ♥
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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