Not in Ramdev’s Ramlila Maidan, Human Rights Violated in North East


Irom Sharmila

By– Pranjit Sarmah

The incident at Ramlila Maidan of Delhi where the police attacked Ramdev and his supporters is being compared with the brutal Jallianwala bagh incident. One could already see media headlines such as ‘democracy has been killed by government’, ‘emergency like situation’, ‘Jallianwala Bagh like situation created by government’ and many more. In addition, the opposition has met The President of India demanding a special session to discuss the incident. Anna Hazare has declared to boycott the next meeting of Jan-Lokpal committee and sit once more for a symbolic protest fast. The amount of people’s displeasure is visible everywhere, including in different social networking sites such as Facebook.

The way the government hypocritically reacted at midnight to the people who were peacefully protesting against corruption, that too at the national capital in the presence of all television media should certainly be condemned by the people. This is certainly not the way a democratic government should react in one independent country.

However as we rise up to protest against this incident, we also realize there are far more and worse incidents of human rights violation and torture of innocents that takes place in the North East India.

  • If we were to ask of it is the first time Jallianwala bagh incident is repeated in independent India, people of North East would certainly answer in the negative. Whether it is the incident of blind students beaten by the police when they peacefully protested (July 2008 at Guwahati) or the countless rapes and killing of innocents by the army across the NE states (in the name of controlling insurgency), there is enough vengeance amongst the people here.
  • If a government could go upto this extent of human right violation within the national capital, could someone imagine upto what extent the human right have been violated in a faraway region like North East India, in the name of dominating insurgencies and protest? Even people who protest against this violation are tortured and dominated. Late Parag Kumar Das or Irom Sharmila being live examples.
  • There are many human right violations in the north eastern reason, which are much more brutal in magnitude compare to what happened in Ramlila Maidan. These never attract the attention of people of mainland India as these incidents get very limited coverage by national television media as well as national print media.
  • The government of Indian have not deployed army against the Maoist with the consideration that they (Maoists) are the own people of India. Then why this discrimination is for north-east alone?
  • Can people of North-East ignore the fact that a girl among them, Irom Sharmila is in fast for last 11 years for bringing human rights to the region by abolishing the in human Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA).She was pained by one incident where 10 innocent civil INDIANs were shot dead by Indian army. (November 2, 2000 -Security forces fired and killed 10 innocent people waiting at a bus stop at Malom, about 15 km from Imphal, capital of Manipur). Were those 10 people killed in Manipur not citizens of India? Do they not deserve the human rights like any other citizen of independent India? Then, why are these innocent people suffering in the name of extremists? Many of these innocent civilians are farmers, villagers who have nothing to do with terrorism.

These are not just examples or exceptional questions. Every year, we see many Jallianwala Baghs happening here. Young girls are raped, elderly people are beaten-up, and Innocents were killed in custody. The government is purposefully using the brutal method of rapes; secrete killings, torture to innocent civilian as a tool to dominate insurgency in this region. The people of North East are accustomed with many Jallianwala Baghs like situation here. From the magnitude of human right violation the incident happened in Ramlila Maidan is very small one for people of this region.

Irom Sharmila too was a girl who wanted to live a happy life with her brothers, sisters and mother like you and me. Like everyone she too wanted to fall in love. She is someone who once liked to eat a lot. But it has been 11 years since she ate last time.

 “As a child, I loved eating. After finishing my own meal, I used to eat off others’ plates. My mother often scolded me for this. It is an irony that my struggle is related to food — though it’s about not eating. The night before I began to fast I bought two packets of cakes from a local bakery and ate all of them to fill my stomach. Then I vowed not to eat ever again. I surrendered myself to God.” –Irom Sharmilla [1]

She is a common girl like everyone, but with the difference that she was not able to bear the bloodshed, the pain and the torture on people, she was not able to ignore the voice coming from her soul to give a fight. She is not among those who can ignore the wrong happenings all around, but want to give a fight, not with arm but peacefully for all people of Manipur.

I was shocked to see the dead bodies. There was no means to stop further violations by the armed forces…. It (fast) is the most effective way because it is based on a spiritual fight… My fast is on behalf of the people of Manipur. This is not a personal battle, it is symbolic. It is a symbol of truth, love and peace,”-Irom Sharmilla [2]

If Gandhiji were alive today, he would have launched a movement against the AFSPA. My appeal to the citizens of the country is to join the struggle against AFSPA”-Irom Sharmilla, 3rd October, 2006, Rajghat [2]

Every sincere citizen of India is against corruption, it is not different in North-East too. People of North-East, mainly people of Assam are taking part in rallies and fasts against corruption. This is the time common people of India should support North East against the fight of human right violation in this region. All people living in North-East are Indian, those 10 persons who were shot dead in Manipur for which Irom Sharmila started her fast 11 years ago, are Indians too. The GoI is responsible to provide its every citizen the security of life and right to live with highest dignity of a human. The action against terrorism should be taken with a very organized and efficient manner. If government is deploying one special act, it should be applicable only to terrorist. The common innocent people should not be a victim of it. The common people should not be tortured and pained purposefully in the process of ending terrorism.

If we don’t want to encourage the fight for secessionism from India, but that can be completely ensured only when every person from the North Eastern region gets to live a life of dignity. Why do we need to take to a gun for everything? Do we, the people of North East not deserve anything without protest? Are we wrong because we want to see this region developed economically, socially? It is high time Government of India really thinks to end those reasons for which the people of this region are unhappy. This should happen at all layers and from the grass root level.

The north easterns are living in an emergency like situation for last two decades, democracy has been killed here many times, and Jallianwala Bagh of British rule has happened countless times. Will the voice and pain of Irom Sharmilla reach to those who have compared the incident of Ramlila Maidan with Jallianwala Bagh of British rule! Will they feel the pain of the people of this region who have become accustomed to seeing many Jallianwala Baghs every year!!

If the measures of human right are equal for North-East as in rest of India, then can we hope that those people will listen and will give support to the human rights of people of North East and to the fight of Irom Sharmila!

1] I don’t want to be a martyr, The Telegraph, January 2 , 2011
2] Irom Sharmila Chanu’s Epic Satyagraha, By Harsh Dobhal, Counter Current.ORG, November 17, 2006

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