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September 14, 2010

Rs 51 lakh award conferred on Sharmila reflects her character... Not for personal use, but for people's movement

Irom Chanu Sharmila with  the award at the
security ward of JNIMS Hospital in Imphal
on Saturday. Photo: PTI
Imphal, Sep 13: The cash reward of Rs 51 lakh that was conferred on Irom Chanu Sharmila in appre-ciation of her anti-Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act campaign will be kept in a fixed deposit account of a Nationalized bank and the interest accrued will be utilized only in the people’s movement against the military Act.
The Just Peace Foundation (JPF), a public trust that supports Sharmila’s unrelenting struggle has adopted a decision to this effect during a meeting.
On Saturday the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM), New Delhi conferred the Rabindranath Tagore Peace Prize on hunger striker Sharmila in a simple function at the security ward of Jawaharlal Nehru hospital here where she is being force-fed by the State Government.
The prize- carrying a cheque of Rs 51 lakh, a gold medal, a citation and a shawl- was given by the IIPM’s founder director and chairman MK Choudhury, his wife Ratna Choudhury and dean of administration Tarun Kumar in recognition of her determined struggle towards bringing peace and harmony in strife-torn Manipur.
Demanding repeal of the Army Act, described by many as draconian, Sharmila (40), has been fasting three days after Assam Rifles soldiers mowed down ten civilians at Malom village in Imphal West on Nov 1, 2000.
“ We have decided to keep the cash prize in a fixed deposit in a Nationalized bank permanently and its interests will be exclusively utilized from time to time only for the people’s movement against AFSPA,” said Irom Singhajit , elder bro-ther of Sharmila, who is the managing trustee of the JPF.
If ( at all) the Act is repealed, the interests will be utilized after due public consultation in other movements like combating child trafficking, violence against women and other organised crimes against humanity that his sister has frequently spoken out against, Singhajit said.
A resident of Kongpal Kongkham Leikai in greater Imphal, Sharmila was among 1000 Asian women nominated for the 2005 Nobel peace prize. She is also a recipient of the prestigious Gwangju (human rights) award. Meanwhile, headed by JPF, various social bodies are gearing up to organize a five-day long observation beginning Nov 2 to mark ten years completion of Sharmila’s campaign against AFSPA. (The Sangai Express)

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