Departure from Panipat at 7:00 AM 19 October
Arrival at New Delhi on 19 October 2011 10:00 AM
Date: 19 OCT 2011
Srinagar to Imphal Jan Karawan reached Delhi yesterday as part of their 4500 Km journey to spread awareness about Irom Sharmila and her hunger strike. The Karwan is organized by Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign which is a joint initiative of various social organizations and movements who are extending their solidarity towards the cause.
The group led by social activists Faisal Khan reached Delhi University, Art faculty where they were welcomed by an another similar organization ‘Save Democracy, Repeal AFSPA’, and a public meeting was organized by Save Democracy Repeal AFSPA which was attended by around 100 youngters from the University. Seram Rojesh, member of Repeal AFSPA spoke about how important it is to have groups like these to come together and fight for peace and justice. More than this being a fight for Irom Sharmila or repealing AFSPA, it is a fight to save the democracy of this country.
“This is for the first time when such a journey is being organized by civilians to protect democratic values and Gandhian values. Never has it happened that to fight for a woman far in north east, so many people from different parts of states have come together. Irom has become a symbol of peace and humanity which is a language spoken by everybody regardless of what religion and language one belongs to.” Said Faisal Khan.
Mr. Khan told that this Jan Karwan was being organised to spread awareness about Irom Sharmila and to generate public support for her. Mr. Khan told that our main objective is to make public opinion about sufferings of people who are affected by AFSPA.
Joining the Karawan is also Mr. Irom Singhjeet ji, brother of Irom Sharmila who was been equally fighting for her since she took up the fast. He said that this time he wishes that through the voices of the common man, Sharmila’s voice will be heard and hopefully justice will be done to her.
While Sharmila supporters were peacefully conducting their meeting and marching, a group of right wing extremists from ABVP marched in violently and disrupted the protest. They claimed that such remarks were ‘anti-indian’ and that the SSC was sponsored by ISI, a Pakistan based militant group.
"We were taking out a caravan when some people came shouting slogans. They asked us to stop, and when we refused, they manhandled us and splashed black ink on our clothes,” said a karawan member.
As the situation worsened, Police called for vans to make arrest but instead of arresting the attackers, peaceful protesters and DU students were detained. All the detained students, six of them girls, were released at 6.30 pm.
After the issue was some how settled at DU, a group of yatris went to IIT Delhi to speak to the students about the issue. ‘Most of them are young students who will become the future of this country. They will work in big companies and earn a lot of money, but they also need to know the ground realities of this country.’ Said Suresh, a Gandhian and Karawan member. He added that this struggle is not for a specific region or specific act, instead it is a struggle to protect the values.
The group then further went to JNU where they addressed the issue amongst students. A panel discussion was organized to discuss about the draconian law AFSPA. Also the yatris got a chance to share their experience of the travel. ‘people from panipat, Haryana, Gujarat are coming forward for this cause. It is not the people or the state that matters, it is the empathy and pain human feels for each other. We are here just to show our solidarity towards all who are victims and who are facing the scenario of human rights violation.’ mentioned Balwant Yadav are also travelling through all routes of yatra.
Total 10 states will be covered by this karwan and around 4500 km distance will be covered. The karawan will reach Imphal on 27th October and meet Irom Sharmila.
Departure from New Delhi at 7:00 AM 20 October