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23 April, 2010

Hind Swaraj Centenary Journey from Kerala to Manipur begins on May 8

The march has been christened Hind Swaraj Centenary Journey as it coincides with the 100th anniversary of the publication of Mahatma Gandhi’s work of that name.

Civic Chandran, one of the coordinators of the event, has stated that the march will be flagged off from Cherthala, home town of Defence Minister A.K.Antony. It will pass through Bengalooru, Chennai, Nellore, Vijayawada, Pune, Bhopal, New Delhi and Kolkata and end at the Imphal jail where Irom Sharmila is incarcerated.

Irom Sharmila, a Manipuri poet described by Maheswata Devi as the woman set to be the iconic figure of the 21st century, is in the tenth year of her fast. Repeatedly released and rearrested, she has been continuing her hunger-strike in jail. The authorities are keeping her alive through nasal feeding but her internal organs are said to have suffered irreparable damage.

As is well known, her non-violent movement is in support of the demand for repeal of the five-decade-old Armed Forces Special Powers Act in the North Eastern states under which the civilian population has practically no legal recourse or redress against excesses or atrocities committed by the armed forces. This situation contravenes the basic tenets of justice and human rights.

“Defence Minister A. K. Antony is a Malayalee and it is to address his conscience and through him that of our Government that we are beginning the Hind Swaraj Centenary journey from Cherthala, from where he hails,” Civic Chandran says. “It will culminate in Imphal where Irom Sharmila is jailed. The journey traverses through the major cities of India.”

The march will be led by Sara Joseph, writer and activist. The following is the itinerary:

May 8, 2010: Flag-off from Cherthala, Kerala

May 9, 2010: Bengalooru, Karnataka

May 10, 2010: Chennai, Tamil Nadu

May 11, 2010: Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh

May 13, 2010: Pune, Maharashtra

May 15, 2020: Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

May 16, 2010: New Delhi

May 18, 2010: Kolkata, West Bengal

May 20, 2010: Guwahati, Assam

May 21/22, 2010 Imphal, Manipur

Civic Chandran hopes the authorities will appreciate the need to respond humanely, as is appropriate for a state that respects human rights and the rule of law, to the ten-year-old struggle by Irom Sharmila.

The noted human rights activist and Nobel laureate Sherin Ibadi has said, “If anything happens to Irom Sharmila, the Indian state, the Indian Parliament, the Prime Minister and the media that closed its eyes to this decade-long struggle should be held responsible.”

Adds Civic Chandran: “We too, cannot shirk our responsibility. Amidst the deafening noise of violence speaking to violence across the length and breadth of our country, here is a call to respond to non-violence, with humility, with truth.”

He has requested all people to cooperate with the Hind Swaraj Centenary Journey by organizing events in the cities through which it passes, publicizing the journey, raising finances to meet its expenses and talking to the local media about it.

Civic Chandran:
Phone: 09633751353

T.R.N Prabhu

Sunny Paikada,
Convenor, Hind Swaraj Centenary Samithi
Phone: 09446234997

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