‘Irom aware of Kashmir sufferings’

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By: Umer Maqbool
Srinagar: Fifty three year old Irom Singhjit, brother of Irom Sharmila, who is on fast for the past 11 years seeking revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Manipur, Sunday said his sister is aware of the pain and sufferings of Kashmiris.
In a chat with Greater Kashmir, Singhjit, who arrived here for the first time today to participate in “Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign” said Sharmila’s heart also bleeds for Kashmiris “who are also suffering like people of North-East due to applicability of the AFSPA.”
“Here people are also being killed, arrested and disappeared due to unbridled powers enjoyed by forces. Her demand for revocation of AFSPA is not only limited to seven states of North East but to J&K as well,” Singhjit said.
Singhjit said Kashmir is a bigger problem than North – East vis-a vis demands of masses.
“In Manipur, we are seeking withdrawal of AFSPA, but in J&K people are demanding sovereignty and freedom. In both the cases, sentiments and aspirations of people need to be addressed by New Delhi,” he said
Like other family members, Sharmila has never been to Kashmir. But senior separatist leader and Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani has visited her in Ram Manhor Lohia hospital in New Delhi four years ago, says Singhjit.
“Six years ago, Geelani visited hospital to express sympathy with her cause and also gave her few books on status of women in Islam,” Singhjit said, adding “Geelani addressed Sharmila as Beti (daughter).”
Recalling the day when Sharmila went on hunger strike, Singhjit said: “It was on November 2, 2002 in Malom, a town in Manipur that Assam Rifles killed 10 civilians which included a woman and National Child Bravery winner in unprovoked firing. It was Thursday. She used to fast on Thursday every week and she continued fast after hearing about the killing of civilians. From November 5 she continued the fast till date.”

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