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Sharmila�s fast enters 15th year

By Correspondent

IMPHAL, Nov 5 � Several social organisations today staged sit-in demonstrations in Manipur supporting human rights defender Irom Chanu Sharmila�s struggle to repeal Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958.

Demanding repeal of AFSPA, �Iron lady of Manipur� Sharmila launched her fast in protest against the killing of ten persons at Malom on November 2, 2000. Three days later, she was arrested by police and charged with �attempt to commit suicide� and transferred to judicial custody.

The sit-in at Palace Gate here was organised by Asian Solidarity and Manipur People�s Struggle for Democracy. Maira paibis, students, activists and well-wishers along with Binayak Sen, Vice President of People�s Union for Civil Liberties and noted activist Lenin Raghuvanshi also attended the sit-in.

Raghuvanshi, who won Gwangju human rights award along with Sharmila in 2007, said �Peace and development will come once the AFSPA is removed as imposition of the Act helps in increasing number of armed groups.�

AFSPA gives security forces sweeping powers to search, enter property and shoot-at-sight and is seen by critics as cover for human rights abuses.

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