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Q. Irom Sharmila to end hunger strike: Comment on Irom Sharmila’s decision to end her hunger strike and to contest elections to press her demand.
Jul 28, 2016 Related to : GS Paper- 2 and 3

Ans :

Introduction-

Recently Manipuri activist Irom Sharmila’s announced that she will end her hunger strike against for revocation of AFSA and she will contest elections to press her demand.

Background-

  • Irom has been on a hunger strike since November 2000, when 10 civilians were killed by security forces at a bus stop near Imphal airport.
  • Since then she has been demanding for revocation of controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
  • Irom Sharmila has been hunger strike for last 16 years, which amounts to attempt to suicide, which was unlawful under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at that time, hence she was arrested.
  • She has been force-fed all these years through her nose at a special ward in the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal.
  • Successive governments since then have rejected her demand citing issues of insurgency and problems of internal security.

Analysis of her decision-

  • In a vibrant democracy like India everyone has right to protest peacefully against any atrocities by the state. But protest should be within the realm of law and order.
  • Hunger strike and indefinite protest amounts to violation of law and order. In this background her decision to end hunger strike is welcome move.
  • Similarly in a democracy, election is best and most suitable medium to press the demands of citizens.
  • Hence her decision to contest elections and to adopt legislative route to press her demand is good sign of vibrant democracy and it could be turning point in the Indian democratic set up.
  • Exerting moral pressure through strikes and protest are good within the realm of law and order, but using election route to exert pressure on state is excellent move for any democracy.

Conclusion-

To some extent high handedness by security forces have alienated people. Irom Sharmila has every right to demand against AFSA, but it should be within realm of law and order. Hence decision to end hunger strike and contest elections to press her demand will turning point for India’s vibrant democracy.


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