Irom Sharmila, the Iron Lady of Manipur as she is often called, has been on a fast for the last ten years protesting against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act that is in place in parts of Manipur and the north east and gives the Army and the paramilitary forces the power to shoot or arrest on mere suspicion.
The Indian state has kept her alive on a cocktail of vitamins and nutrients. She is force-fed twice a day through her nose.
She has written a letter to Anna Hazare expressing her solidarity for his movement against corruption and at the same time highlighting the contrast to the government's response to the two protests. Full text of the letter follows:
JUST PEACE FOUNDATION
Kongpal Kongkham Leikai
Imphal East – 795001
Sharmila response to Anna's invitation
23 August 2011, Tuesday
10.27am, Security Ward, JN Hospital
I whole heartedly welcome your invitation to join the anti corruption rally you are crusading. And yet I would like you to be convinced of the reality of my situation, that I cannot get the advantage of exercising my non-violent protest for justice against my concerned authority as a democratic citizen of a democratic country, unlike your environment. This is the problem I cannot understand.
My humble suggestion is if you feel seriously; please try to reach the concerned legislators (read authorities) to let me get free, like yours, to join your amazing crusade to root out corruption – which is the root of all evils. Or you can come to Manipur, the most corruption affected region in the world.
With full solidarity and best wishes.
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