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Northeast India

CPI plea to name institute after Irom Sharmila

Imphal, Feb. 8: The Manipur unit of the CPI has urged the Okram Ibobi Singh government and the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre to rename Imphal’s Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences as the Irom Sharmila Institute of Medical Sciences.

The CPI adopted a resolution to press for renaming the institute in the name of rights crusader Irom Sharmila in the 11th conference of CPI’s Imphal East local council at Lamlai in Imphal East today.

“We have adopted a resolution to demand the change in the name of the institute to Irom Sharmila Institute of Medical Sciences, in recognition of her sacrifice for the people of the country,” R.K. Amusana Singh, secretary of the local council, said.

He said the CPI would urge both the state and the central governments to change the name of the institute.

Sharmila has been fasting for more than 14 years demanding the repeal of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences special ward, an extension of the Sajiwa jail has been her home ever since she was first arrested and remanded in judicial custody on the charge of attempting to commit suicide more than 14 years ago.

Sharmila began her hunger strike on November 5, 2000, at Malom, near Tulihal airport in Imphal after troops of the Assam Rifles shot dead 10 civilians to retaliate against a militant attack at a bus stand.

She has been released every time she completed her one-year’s jail term, the maximum term for the offence of attempting to commit suicide, only to be rearrested and sentenced to jail.

Sharmila was freed from jail on January 22 after an Imphal court rejected the police charge that Sharmila was attempting to commit suicide under Section 309 IPC. However, she was rearrested two days later on the same charge after she continued her hunger strike after coming out of jail.

Sharmila was produced before an Imphal court yesterday for her routine appearance.

Talking to reporters, Sharmila had said mainland India never accepts northeastern states as a part of the country. “It is the reason why the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act is enforced in this region,” she said.

Sharmila also said the BJP’s immigrant gaffe will encourage separatist movements in the Northeast.

“We took the decision to demand the renaming of the institute after a thorough discussion at the level of state council of the CPI. The CPI wants to recognise her supreme sacrifice for upholding human rights and dignity,” Amusana Singh said.

He said the CPI would send copies of the resolution to the Centre and also to the chief minister for considering the demand.

About Intercultural Resources

Intercultural Resources is a forum for research and political intervention on issues related to the impacts and alternatives to destructive development. Our effort draws upon the social, cultural, material and intellectual resources that have been generated in the course of dialogues between people of different cultures on questions of social justice, development and self-rule. We are of the view that dialogue can sustain plurality and open possibilities for recovery of the ground lost on account of inter-cultural alienation, which is manifest in a variety of forms of violence that we encounter everyday at different levels of social life. Intercultural Resources is based in Delhi, India. Email: ihpindia@gmail.com

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