Bollywood actor Aamir Khan has supported Manipur’s human rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila’s over a decade-long hunger strike against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and violation of human rights by security forces in the northeast, a release said here Monday.
“The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958, should be repealed,” the actor told the coordinator of the Imphal-based Just Peace Foundation (JPF), Seram Rojesh, in New Delhi Sunday. “I support Sharmila.”
AFSPA, in force in large parts of the northeast, enables security forces to shoot at sight or arrest without a warrant.
“The foundation recently sent Rojesh to the national capital to demonstrate solidarity with Anna Hazare after the social activist had invited Sharmila to come to New Delhi and join his fight against corruption,” a JPF release said here.
“Rojesh apprised Aamir at Ramlila ground in New Delhi about the condition of Sharmila who has been fasting for over one decade demanding the repeal of the AFSPA and alleged violation of human rights in northeast India by security forces,” it said.
She completes 11 years of fasting in November.
The JPF coordinator told Aamir, who came to Ramlila ground in support of social activist Anna Hazare, that the Manipur government imposed many official formalities to restrict people, including family members, from meeting Sharmila.
Aamir told the JPF that he would try to come to Manipur and visit Sharmila and that he was keen to do something to support rights activist.
“I do not think there is any provision in the Indian Constitution that disallows a meeting with people in custody,” the release quotes the actor as having said. “It has no place in a democratic society.”
Known as the “Iron Lady of Manipur”, the 40-year-old rights activist began her fast Nov 2, 2000, after seeing the Army kill 10 people at a bus stop near her home, close to Imphal airport.
Sharmila is currently being held in an isolated cabin at the Jawarharlal Nehru Hospital in Manipur’s capital Imphal.
The release said that social activist Medha Patkar also informed the foundation that she would extend her support to the fight against AFSPA.