Manipuri rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila today for the first time attended the anniversary programme to commemorate Malom Massacre which had prompted her to go on a 16-year-long hunger strike demanding the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the state.
Today’s event marked the 16th anniversary of the massacre in which 10 civilians were gunned down by the security forces at Malom in Imphal West district.
Addressing the gathering at the memorial, Sharmila, co-convenor of newly-floated political party Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) said this was the first time she took part in the programme as she was kept in custody for more than 15 years.
Paying tributes to the 10 victims, she said laws were framed to protect the people and her entry into politics was the “first step” to bring in changes under a democratic system.
Sharmila (44) had ended her 16-year-long fast in August and formed the new political party to contest the state Assembly election due early next year.
She had also declared that she would be contesting against Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh at his home turf of Thoubal.
Today’s event was organised by the relatives of the 10 civilians killed on this day, said PRJA convenor Erendro Leichombam, who will be contesting the upcoming Assembly election.