Friday, January 16, 2015

IROM SHARMILA: Interview by Kavita Joshi

UPDATE: This article was published in 2006. Irom Sharmila's hunger fast against the AFSPA has now continued over ten years.  

IROM's IRON IN THE SOUL
Young, stoic and dogged, Irom Sharmila has been on a fast-unto-death since November, 2000. She wants the repressive Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act repealed. The Act gives draconian powers to the security forces and has repeatedly been used with brazen brutality in the Northeast. For five years, she has been imprisoned and force-fed by the State for her ‘crime’. Filmmaker Kavita Joshi spoke to her in the hospital room in Imphal, her prison

An eye: piercing, intent. A nose, covered by a swatch of medical tape, as a yellow tube forces its way in. Lips, stretched tight as if in pain. A woman sits against a bare wall, huddled under a blanket, tightly hugging herself. This is my first impression of Irom Sharmila as I walk to her hospital bed. She is incarcerated at the security ward of JN Hospital in Imphal, Manipur, in custody of the Central Jail, Sajiwa. It takes her immense effort to speak, but she tries her best. “How can I explain? This is not a punishment. It is my bounden duty at my best level.”

Irom Sharmila has not eaten for over five years now. For this, she has been locked up in jail by the government under very dubious charges and is being forcibly nose fed. Since November 2000, Sharmila has been on a fast-unto-death, demanding the removal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 (AFSPA).

Read the rest of the article and interview on Tehelka here

FIND ALL ARTICLES ON IROM SHARMILA POSTED ON THIS BLOG, HERE