The Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL, Oct, 6 : A Protest Rally by hundreds of Students Volunteers supporting the cause of Irom Sharmila was carried out today at New Delhi from Jantar Mantar road towards Parliament street this evening around 5:30 pm. The protesters shouted slogans like, `Justice is the foundation of peace`, `Restore right to life`, `Remove AFSPA` etc. According to Sonia Nepram, who took part in the rally, the students were blocked at the high security parliament street. Respecting the non-violent nature of Sharmila`s protest, the students decided against confronting the police and instead decided to hold a meeting at the spot where they were stopped and turned back.
However, the students volunteers will be conducting a massive rally tomorrow from 8 am tomorrow, she revealed. Earlier at around 2 pm, a seven member students` representatives along with a Delhi University professor visited Manipur Bhavan to meet the Chief Minister of Manipur who is presently in the capital to submit an application signed by Sharmila.
The contents of the application included the desire of Sharmila to meet the CM, and that the fasting lady will consider medical aid only after meeting the CM. But the CM expressed his inability to meet Sharmila citing prior engagements and other appointments. The students roundly condemned this attitude of the chief minister, O Ibobi
He also told the students not to force him to come and meet Sharmila. Such a stance, the students felt, was highly irresponsible and not expected from a state`s leader.
Since, Sharmila arrived in New Delhi she has been taking no medical aid, Sonia added. In the meantime, a Doctor of the Ram Monohar Lohia hospital revealed that the Delhi police has arranged for medical aid including nose feeding. However, neither the Delhi police nor any other authorities have interfered with the Dharna of Sharmila. Today she entered her 3rd day of hunger strike at the capital. Irom Sharmila has also declined any medical aid and have refused to take even water since she arrived at Delhi, the Student added.
On the other hand, representatives of various NGO`s and leaders of Kashmir Hurriat conference met Sharmila today and extended their solidarity in her mission. A press conference was also held this afternoon attended by all the leading national media afternoon including.
"I`m doing this for the people and I surrender myself to fate. But as long as I live, I`ll carry on the fasting strike for the cause". She quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, extending their solidarity to the Sharmila`s stir at Delhi, womenfolk and students in the state staged dharna at their respective locality and school premises. The students also boycotted their classes for the day.
At Imphal east district from where Sharmila hails, effigies of President and Prime Minister of India and Chief Minister of Manipur were burnt down at around 2 pm in protest against the government remaining mute to Sharmila`s demand for the removal of the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act 1958 from the state. A demand which has the support of all sections of the society.
"We cannot tolerate the attitude of the government of India. We will support her till this draconian law is rooted out from Manipur," Ibeni, a woman participated in a sit-in protest today told this correspondent.
"By enforcing such a draconian law for a such long time and not hearing the cry of the people to remove the Act, it is very clear that Manipuris have no place in democratic India. The enforcement of the law in the state has shown the real face of India. they look down on the people of Manipur," said Tony a student participating in the dharna at his school premise.
Irom Sharmila Chanu, who was released from judicial custody on October 3, left the next day for National capital, New Delhi to continue her stir there.
In the meantime, shopkeepers at Thangal bazaar closed their shops earlier than usual fearing a possible outbreak of violent incidents as rumours of Sharmila`s death started doing the rounds.
According to a shopkeeper in bazaar, this late afternoon three youths went shop to shop asking the shopkeeper to down their shtters saying that Sharmila had died at Delhi and people are going to launched a massive agitation.