Thursday, December 15, 2011

The eleven-year fast of Irom Sharmila and the battle for freedom in India’s borderlands

From The Iron Lady by Shubh Mathur, Guernica

Only images and fragments of stories trickle out from the prison ward in Imphal, capital of the Indian state of Manipur, where Irom Sharmila has been in solitary confinement since November 2000. Very few reporters, photographers, or filmmakers manage to pass the bureaucratic and physical barriers that keep her incarcerated. Photographer Gauri Gill wrote: “I had the feeling I was in the presence of someone so gentle, so alive to injustice and suffering, that she would not be able to survive the world… Through our ninety-minute interview, she was unfailingly kind to the guards, the hospital attendants, and the doctors who came and went.” Sharmila asked the documentary filmmaker Kavita Joshi for a copy of Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, as she has no access to books, newspapers, or the Internet. She still writes poetry, which her supporters circulate online.

The 39-year-old Sharmila has been fasting for eleven years to demand the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which has been in effect in her home state of Manipur since 1958. AFSPA gives the Indian military absolute powers of search, seizure, arrest, and the use of deadly force, and provides impunity to military personnel accused of abuses against the civilian population. It is the foundation of a regime of military terror that has overshadowed daily life in Manipur, and other border states in the northeast—the triangle of land between Bangladesh, Burma, and China that is only connected to the Indian diamond by a narrow corridor to West Bengal—and in Kashmir. The Indian government has interpreted Sharmila’s fast as a suicide attempt, for which the maximum sentence is a one-year jail term. Each year for the past eleven years, she has been arrested, kept in a security ward, and force-fed a mixture of vitamins and nutrients twice a day through a nose tube. At the end of each year, she is released, and then arrested the next day. Her physical frame and strength are diminished to alarming levels, but her resolve is not.

[ ... ]

Along with Sharmila, the fate of another young woman, Manorama Thangjam, has come to symbolize for Manipuris their condition under the lawlessness of Indian army rule. On the night of July 11, 2004, 32-year-old Manorama was taken from her home by soldiers of the Assam Rifles paramilitary under suspicion of being a guerrilla sympathizer—Manipur has more than thirty armed militant groups fighting for causes including independence from India, ethnic turf wars, and sometimes just plain extortion, a pattern of conflict deriving from six decades of a divide and rule policy directed from New Delhi.

Manorama was first tortured in front of her own home, while soldiers held her family at gunpoint. According to Human Rights Watch, one of the soldiers came inside the house and took from the kitchen a knife, a towel and a bucket of water. The soldiers gave the family a signed arrest memo, a measure intended to prevent disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings. It did not help. Her bullet-ridden and mutilated body was found in a field near the road a few hours later. She had been tortured and raped; her body was marked by knife slashes, and her lower body shredded with gunfire to cover the evidence of rape.


No comments:


image from

Favorite Links

~325~ ~9-11...Who Really Did It~ ~10:10~ ~10 Zen Monkeys~ ~911 Truth~ ~13 Indigenous Grandmothers~ ~15O~ ~15th October~ ~Activist Post~ ~ACT UP~ ~Adbusters~ ~Aerogaz (greek)~ ~Afinity Project~ ~Aging Hipsters~ ~Alecto's Ophelia~ ~Al-Jazeera~ ~Alex Constantine's Blacklist~ ~Alliance for Human Research Protection~ ~All Things Cynthia McKinney~ ~All Things Pakistan~ ~Alternative Insight~ ~Alternative Press Review~ ~Alternet~ ~American Friends Service Committee~ ~American Street~ ~Anarkismo~ ~Andy Worthington~ ~Anglican Pacifist Fellowship~ ~Anomaly News Syndicate~ ~Another Day In The Empire~ ~AntiWar~ ~Antiwar League~ ~Anxiety Culture~ ~Appeal For Redress From The War In Iraq~ ~A Poetic Justice~ ~Artists Without Frontiers~ ~Art of Europe~ ~Arts And Letters Daily~ ~Attack the System~ ~Athens IMC~ ~Ballardian~ ~Black Box Voting~ ~BlackListed News~ ~Black Vault~ ~Blog Bioethics net~ ~Blog of the Unknown Writer~ ~Blondsense~ ~Boiling Frog~ ~Boiling Frogs Post~ ~BoingBoing~ ~Book Ninja~ ~Bookslut~ ~Bradley Manning Support Network~ ~Brand New Law~ ~Brainsturbator~ ~Bring Them Home Now~ ~Bruce Eisner's Vision Thing~ ~Buckminster Fuller Institute~ ~Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists~ ~Bureau of Public Secrets~ ~Business & Human Rights Resource Centre~ ~Buzzflash~ ~Campaign For Real Farming~ ~Catapult the Propaganda~ ~Campus Antiwar Network~ ~Cargo Culte~ ~Castan Centre for Human Rights Law~ ~Catch of the Day~ ~Censorship Paradise~ ~Center for Media and Democracy~ ~Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies, Afghanistan~ ~Centre for Research and Action for Peace~ ~Center on Law and Security~ ~Chapati Mystery~ ~Choike~ ~Chronicle of Higher Education~ ~Church of the FSM~ ~CIA & Drugs~ ~Citizens for Legitimate Government~ ~Citizens for Tax Justice~ ~Clandestina~ ~CODEPINK~ ~Coilhouse mag~ ~Collateral Murder~ ~Common Dreams~ ~Complete 9/11 Timeline~ ~Concerned Africa Scholars~ ~Connexions~ ~Conspiracy Archive~ ~Contra Info~ ~Corrente~ ~COTO Report~ ~Coup d'Etat in America~ ~Countercurrents~ ~Crapaganda~ ~Create Real Democracy~ ~Creative-i~ ~Crimes of the State~ ~CrimethInc~ ~Crisis Group~ ~Critical Legal Thinking~ ~Cronache da Mileto (Italian)~ ~Crooks and Liars~ ~Crowd Modelling~ ~Cryptoforestry~ ~Cryptome~ ~Cyclos~ ~Culture Change~ ~Cutting Through The Matrix~ ~Cyrano's Journal~ ~Daily What~ ~Damn Interesting~ ~Dangerous Minds~ ~Deliberative Democracy Consortium~ ~Democracy Center~ ~Democracy Journal~ ~Democracy Now~ ~Democratic Underground~ ~Detournement~ ~Digital Rights [greek lang.]~ ~Diplomacy Lessons~ ~Direct Power!~ ~Discoveries-Researchings-Visions-Understandings-Enlightenments~ ~Disinformation~ ~DistributorCap NY~ ~Dr Hugo Heyrman-Motions of the Mind~ ~Dylanology~ ~EAGAINST~ ~Earthnocentric~ ~Eco Tort~ ~Ectoplasmosis!~ ~Educate Yourself~ ~E-Flux~ ~Electronic Frontier Foundation~ ~Electronic Intifada~ ~Eliminate War Forever~ ~End Evil~ ~Energy Bulletin~ ~Eradicating Ecocide~ ~EROCx1 Blog~
~Europeanrevolution~ ~European Revolution~ ~Eurozine~ ~Exposing the Truth~ ~Extinction Protocol: 2012 and beyond~ ~Families of the Fallen for Change~ ~Fellowship of Reconciliation~ ~Financial Armageddon~ ~FKN Newz~ ~Food For Your Eyes~ ~Forward the Revolution~ ~Franchot's Band~ ~Free Bloggers in Greece~ ~Free Expression Network~ ~Free Press International~ ~Freethinking for Dummies~ ~Free Thought Manifesto~ ~From the Wilderness~ ~F-t-W's Peak Oil Blog~ ~G1000~ ~Ghostdancing in Venice~ ~GIMP~ ~Gilles Duley~ ~Global Guerillas~ ~Global Integrity~ ~Global Policy Forum~ ~Global Revolution~ ~Global Security Institute~ ~Global Voices Online~ ~Gold Star Families for Peace~ ~Government Dirt~ ~Greek Alert [greek lang.]~ ~Greek Assembly in London~ ~Green Left Weekly~ ~Groklaw~ ~Hack Democracy~ ~Hakim Bey and Ontological Anarchy~ ~Hiroshima Peace Institute~ ~History Is A Weapon Blog~ ~How Appealing~ ~How To Vanish~ ~Human Rights Law Review~ ~I Can't Believe It's Not a Democracy!~ ~Idler~ ~Impropaganda~ ~Independent Media Center~ ~INIREF~ ~Institute for Media Peace and Security~ ~International Action Center~ ~International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)~ ~In These Times~ ~Information Clearing House~ ~Information Liberation~ ~Infoshop~ ~Institute for Policy Studies~ ~Institute for War and Peace Reporting~ ~Insurgent American~ ~Intel Hub~ ~International Labor Rights Forum~ ~Intrinsic Impact~ ~Invisible History~ ~Iraq Citizens Against the War~ ~Iraq Freedom Congress~ ~Iraq Veterans Against the War~ ~Irish Peace Institute~ ~Issues and Alibis~ ~James Howard Kunstler~ ~Jesus Radicals~ ~John Zerzan~ ~Jorgen Schäfer's Homepage~ ~JUST~ ~Just For The Love Of It~ ~Justice Not Vengeance~ ~Kasama Project~ ~Keep Talking Greece~ ~Kia Mistilis~ ~Kill Me If You Can by Bob Miller~ ~Killer Coke~ ~Labor Rights~ ~Labor Rights Now~ ~Labour Start~ ~Lava Cocktail~ ~Lemon Gloria~ ~Lemony Snicket~ ~L'ennui mélodieux~ ~Lessig~ ~Liberation Theology~ ~Libertarians for Peace~ ~Life After the Oil Crash~ ~Life & Peace Institute~ ~Lunch Street Party~ ~Lycaeum~ ~Links by George~ ~Literary Kicks~ ~Lubinproductions~ ~MacNN~ ~Mad Cow Morning News~ ~Manageable Ants~ ~Mario Profaca's Cyberspace Station~ ~Maro Kouri~ ~Maud Newton~ ~May it Please the Court~ ~McSpotlight~ ~Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture~ ~Metta Center for Nonviolence~ ~Metanoia~ ~Michael Moore - Must Read~ ~Mind Control~ ~Military Families Speak Out~ ~Mind in Peace (greek)~ ~Miss Welby~ ~MK Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence~ ~Molly's Blog~ ~Mother Jones~ ~MungBeing Magazine~ ~n +1 mag~ ~National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee~ ~Natural Farming~ ~Neatorama~ ~Neuromarketing~ ~Neurosecurity~ ~New Internationalist~ ~News Dissector~ ~News Frames~ ~News Making News~ ~News Now~ ~New Tactics in Human Rights~ ~New World Dawning~ ~NEXUS~ ~NFAK~ ~Nomadic Academy Of Fools~ ~Non Fides~ ~Noor Images~ ~Not In Our Name~ ~Not Stupid~ ~Nuclear Resister~ ~NUTOPIA2~ ~[Occupy] 2012 Scenario~ ~Occupy America Social Network~ ~OCCUPY Cafe~ ~Occupy Istanbul~ ~Occupy Together~ ~Occupy Together Field Manual~ ~OWS~ ~Occupy Writers~ ~October 2011~ ~Odious Debts~ ~ODYS~ ~Olmaz~ ~On the Path to 2012~ ~Op Ed News~ ~Open Letters to George W. Bush from his ardent admirer,Belacqua Jones~ ~Open Revolt!~ ~Open Source Ecology~ ~Orthodox Peace Fellowship~ ~Orwell Today~ ~Outlaw Journalism~ ~OWNI~ ~Patriots Question 9/11~ ~Peace in Mind (greek)~ ~PeaceJam~ ~Peace Now~ ~Peaceful Tomorrows~ ~Peak Moment~ ~People's Assemblies Network~ ~Peter Frase~ ~Photography is Not a Crime~ ~Picture the Homeless~ ~Pieman~ ~Places the U.S. has bombed~ ~Pogo Was Right - privacy news~ ~Political ~Post Carbon Institute~ ~Praxis Peace Institute~ ~Primate Poetics~ ~Prisoner Solidarity~ ~Professors question 9/11~ ~Project Camelot~ ~Project Censored~ ~Project for the Old American Century~ ~Project on Corporations, Law and Democracy~ ~Psyche, Science and Society~ ~Psychogeography~ ~Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility~ ~Radical Anthropology~ ~Rainbow Family~ ~RawStory~ ~Reality Sandwich~ ~Real Democacy GR~ ~Real Democracy ~Rebel Dog~ ~Reflections on a Revolution~ ~Reporters Without Borders~ ~Re-public~ ~Resistance Studies Magazine~ ~Resource Based Economy Foundation~ ~Re-volt Radio~ ~Richard Heinberg's Museletter~ ~Rockefeller's War on Drugs~ ~Ruckus Society~ ~Sacred Texts~ ~Salon~ ~Save Orphan Works~ ~Scholars and Rogues~ ~Scoop~ ~SCOTUS Blog~ ~Secrecy News~ ~Service Academy Graduates Against the War~ ~Shadow Government Statistics~ ~Signs of the Times News~ ~Slovenia Peace Institute~ ~Smirking Chimp~ ~smygo~ ~SNU Project~ ~Soil And Health Library~ ~SourceWatch~ ~Speaking Truth to Power~ ~Spirit Horse Foundation~ ~Spunk~ ~Squattastic~ ~Starhawk~ ~Stockholm International Peace Research Institute~ ~StopCartel TV-GR~ ~Stop The Arms Fair~ ~Stop the ~Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness~ ~Students Against War~ ~Survival Acres~ ~Survival International~ ~Swan's Commentary~ ~Take The Square~ ~Tangible Information~ ~Tax Justice Network~ ~Tax Research UK~ ~Theatre of the Oppressed~ ~The Black Commentator~ ~The Black Vault~ ~The Borowitz Report~ ~The Carpetbagger Report~ ~The Center for Public Integrity~ ~The Daily Reckoning~ ~The Dark Age Blog~ ~The Digger Archives~ ~The End of Being~ ~The Guardian~ ~The Hidden Evil~ ~The Huffington Post~ ~The Intelligence Daily~ ~The Lazy Man's Guide To Enlightenment~ ~The Mountain Sentinel~ ~The Nation~ ~The National Security Archive~ ~The New Z-Land Project~ ~The Other Israel~ ~The Pathology Guy~ ~The Progress Report~ ~The Progressive Magazine~ ~The Real News~ ~The Situation Room~ ~The Truth Seeker~ ~ The Watcher Files~ ~Think Progress~ ~Third World Traveller~ ~This Land Is Ours~ ~This Modern World~ ~TomDispatch~ ~Total Collapse~ ~Total Dick-Head~ ~Transform!~ ~Transnational Institute~ ~Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research~ ~True Democracy~ ~Troops Out Now~ ~True Democracy Party~ ~Truthdig~ ~Truth News~ ~Truthout~ ~TW3 and fotografia la dolce vita~ ~Uncommon Thought~ ~United for Peace & Justice~ ~United States Institute of Peace~ ~Unknown News~ ~UNPA Campaign~ ~Urbanibalism~ ~US Labor Against the War~ ~VBS TV~ ~Veterans Against the Iraq War~ ~Veterans for Peace and Justice~ ~Video Rebel's Blog~ ~Vietnam Veterans Against the War~ ~Virusmyth - Rethinking AIDS~ ~visionOntv~ ~Voices for Creative Non-Violence~ ~Void Network~ ~Voice Memo~ ~Voters for Peace~ ~Waging Nonviolence~ ~Waking the Midnight Sun~ ~Want To Know~ ~War Costs~ ~War Crimes and Military Improprieties~ ~War Criminals Watch~ ~War on Society~ ~War is Illegal~ ~War Resisters International~ ~War Resisters League~ ~Was Jack Kerouac a Punjabi?~ ~Watergate Exposed~ ~West Point Graduates Against The War~ ~What Really Happened~ ~What’s On My Food?~ ~Why Work? Creating Livable Alternatives to Wage Slavery~ ~Wikileaks~ ~WikiLeaks Central~ ~Wild Wild Left~ ~willyloman~ ~Winning Cancer~ ~Win Without War~ ~Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)~ ~Wonkette~ ~World Prout Assembly~ ~Worldwide Hippies~ ~Yes Lab~ ~Yippie Museum~ ~Young Protester~ ~Youth Against War and Racism (YAWR)~ ~Zapatistas~ ~Zine Library~ ~Zippy Elder-at-Large~ ~ZMag~
~ Thank you for visiting Circle of 13 ~


This blog may contain videos with copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in an effort to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.