A group of JNU students were not allowed to meet Manipuri human rights activist Irom Sharmila who was in Delhi for the hearing of a 2006 case of attempted suicide.
The students were stopped at the barricade drawn by the police near Manipur House where Sharmila had put up.
The police reasoned that they could not allow Sharmila to address the students since she was still under judicial custody after refusing personal recognizance bond on offer on March 22 earlier this month.
After an-hour long negotiation, Sharmila emerged on the other side of the barricade to the loud cheer of the students.
She acknowledged the students’ support through hand gesture as the students raised slogans against the Afspa. Sharmila has been fasting against Afspa for the last 16 years.
“Revoke Afspa!”, “Afspa down down” “Irom Sharmila Laal Salam” were among the few slogans that were raised in support of the “Iron Lady of Manipur”.
The 1958 Afspa rule, which is in effect in many parts of northeastern India and Kashmir, gives security forces sweeping powers to search and shoot on sight, and is criticised for allegedly allowing security personnel to abuse human rights.
JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid condemned the “state agencies” for not allowing Sharmila to address the students.
“We condemn this attitude of the state agencies who do not want us to meet Sharmila and support her cause. We need to keep fighting,” said Rashid.
Students however celebrated dropping of the charge against Sharmila for attempt to suicide.
“Today is a day of victory for people who fight against oppression. Our fight is long but we will win this fight because our fight is for a genuine cause. They rape our women and sisters. We will continue our fight against this,” said Chinglen Khunukcham, Convener of North East Forum for International Solidarity.
The students then held a march from near Manipur House to the main road at Chanakyapuri while raising slogans against Afspa and in support of Sharmila.