Imphal, October 19: Human rights activist Irom Sharmila on Tuesday said that AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) is not just a human rights issue; it is a political issue and I will fight it politically. On Tuesday, she formally launched her political party — the Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) at Imphal’s Manipur Press Club to contest the upcoming Assemble elections and give a tough time to mainstream political parties.
The party, which was announced by Sharmila along with Sharmila4change, a coalition that was formed after she gave up her 16-year-long fast against the repeal of the AFSPA two months ago.
“I am doing this because I love Manipur more than anything. For 16 years, the government isolated me by keeping me away from the people of my own state. I wanted to connect with the people and be a part of the movement with them. Now I can work to repeal AFSPA, to restore justice to the Manipuri society and stem the violence,” Irom said. “AFSPA is not just a human rights issue; it is a political issue and I will fight it politically.”
Party convenor Erendro Leichombam informed that the party will work towards rejecting violence and corruption. “Our party’s ideology is to push for a people’s resurgence. We have stood for the elections so that the new generation of Manipuris can know about their past. This is crucial because the Manipuri identity is corrupted by shrewd politicians,” said Erendro.
Along with her own candidature from hometown Khurai, Irom introduced three other candidates, including social activist Najma Phundreimayum, who will be the first Meitei Muslim to contest the Assembly election in Manipur.
Irom, spoke of the overwhelming support that the people of the state have bestowed on her. “I have been misunderstood on many grounds; many people in my state think that I am hankering after power. My sole intention when I quit my fast was to come in the midst of the people to fight for them,” she said.