Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Iron Lady of Manipur: Freedom and Re-arrest: An Update


The Iron Lady of Manipur, Irom Sharmila was released from judicial custody and rearrested on the International Women’s Day. While she continues to fast, I cannot help comparing the media’s (especially the electronic media’s) live coverage of Raj Thackeray’s success in securing his bail in Mumbai, and the media's general indifference to her release and rearrest in Imphal. Her release and rearrest were covered in sections of the media. The report on rediff.com raised questions (quoting her counsel) about the applicability of S.309 IPC, as she does not have the intent to commit suicide. If S.309 can be slapped on her for the fast, Mahatma Gandhi too must have been guilty of this offence several times, but even the British did not invoke this section against him. It appears S.309 IPC is being invoked against her only to let the State to forcibly keep her alive by a drip thrust down her nose, which is obviously not the objective of this penal provision. The mystery over the fate of this living Gandhian, who has been on fast for the past seven years and the Indian state’s silence on her demand to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act – despite Jeevan Reddy Commission recommending its repeal – would surely influence the course of the resistance movements elsewhere.

The latest Tehelka carries a story and an interview with her. Combat Law has profiled her in the past.

3 comments:

ravi srinivas said...

It is unfortunate that such news receives almost no coverage in the media, print or electronic.Like NBA's struggle this struggle questions our assumptions about
the nature of state and democracy
in India.

How do we know said...

so true! Raj Thackerey deserves way less column space than this brave woman!

Mnaaz said...

Venkatesan, thank you for this article. I'm quite ashamed to say i never knew of Irom Sharmila's existence let alone her extraordinary struggle. And your link to the tehelka story is very helpful. I dont particularly know what good comes out of me knowing this, nevertheless...
I'm Mehernaaz, a lawyer practicing in Mumbai. I was introduced to your blog by my brother Arzan Sam Wadia who blogs himself.