Fight against AFSPA: Irom Sharmila says she has changed her strategy
The activist went on to form her own party and has decided to fight the March assembly elections with the sole agenda of withdrawal of the Act from Manipur.assembly elections Updated: Mar 08, 2017 07:24 IST
Activist Irom Sharmila, who is making her electoral debut in the Manipur polls, on Sunday said she has not given up her fight against controversial law AFSPA but only changed her strategy.
Sharmila said a section of people even wanted her “martyrdom” during the 16-year-old fast against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) that she decided to end last year.
The activist went on to form her own party -- Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) -- and has decided to fight the March assembly elections with the sole agenda of withdrawal of the Act from Manipur.
“Even if one of us win, we will be the voice of the people inside the assembly and will question AFSPA on the floor of the House,” she told PTI to questions on why her party PRJA had fielded only three candidates and whether they could play an important role in the 60-member Assembly if they win.
Sharmila is contesting the Thoubal seat against Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh and BJP’s L Bashanta Singh.
On what would she do if PRJA fails to taste success in the polls, she said, “Even if we fail, we will continue our fight. We will stay in politics and fight the next parliamentary elections.”
During the interview Sharmila said, “AFSPA has never been an issue in the polls. But I want to make a point in the elections that AFSPA is not only a draconian law but also one which is a gross violation of human rights.
“Even now other parties are talking about alleged fake encounters in the state,” she said.
On her journey from being an activist to a politician, Sharmila said, “The fast was an emotional fight. But after 16 years I realised that it didn’t achieve any purpose. But when I withdrew my fast a lot of people in Manipur misunderstood me, they thought I had given up.
“A section of people even wanted my martyrdom during fast. But the fact is I have not given up the fight against AFSPA, I have only changed my strategy,” she said.
Sharmila, who is also known as the ‘Iron Lady’ said when she had met people and explained to them about her new strategy, they understood her and gave their blessings.
“People now have understood me and are with me,” she said.
Criticising both Congress and BJP, she said, “The economic blockade is a gameplan of BJP and Congress to divert the attention from the demand of withdrawal of AFSPA and misrule and corruption of Congress government.”
First Published: Feb 19, 2017 13:45 IST