Manipur’s human rights activist Irom Sharmila, who has been on a hunger strike for over a decade, on Tuesday expressed her inability to participate in Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption rally in New Delhi as she is under arrest.
Hazare, who is fasting at the capital’s Ramlila Maidan, had reached out to Sharmila, inviting her to join the rally.
The invitation was sent by Arvind Kejriwal, a key member of Team Anna, to Just Peace Foundation (JPF), a Manipur-based body promoting Sharmila’s campaign. Welcoming the invitation, the iron lady of Manipur said Hazare must visit the state someday.
“My humble suggestion is if you feel seriously, please try to reach the concerned legislators to let me go free, like you, to join your crusade to root out corruption, which is the root of all evils. Or you can come to Manipur, the most corruption-affected region in the world,” Sharmila said in a letter to Team Anna.
Sharmila, 38, is campaigning to have the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act repealed. The act provides unlimited powers to security forces to shoot at sight and arrest anybody without a warrant.
She launched an indefinite hunger strike in 2000 after she witnessed the killing of 10 people by army soldiers in Malom village on the outskirts Imphal.
Confined to a hospital ward, she is being force-fed through a nasal tube.
“Anna and all of us appeal to you to lend us your support in letter and spirit and invite you to share in our experience,” Kejriwal’s letter said.
Civil rights campaigners in Manipur were upset with the mainstream media for blowing up Hazare’s anti-graft fast and ignoring the hunger strike by Sharmila.