Candlelight vigil in support of Manipur activist's fast

GUWAHATI: People from all walks of life today took part in a candlelight vigil in Guwahati to extend support to Irom Sharmila of Manipur who is on a fast for over a decade demanding repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

The march was organised at the Dighalipukhuri area here by the influential North East Students Union (NESO) which alleged the Centre's apathy towards Sharmila.

People, who took part, alleged that the Centre along with a large section of intellectuals and media had not given due attention to Sharmila's demand to repeal the controversial AFSPA.

NESO chairman Samujjal Bhattacharya said the people of the northeast were united in their demand to repeal the Act.

"The country has failed to understand her. Is there any record of 10-year-long fast anywhere in the world, even during the Independence movement," he asked.

Prior to the candlelight vigil, the protesters covered their faces with black cloths and observed solidarity by organising a sit-in from 4 pm to 6 pm.

Sharmila is on a fast from November 4, 2000 following the killing of 10 people by Assam Rifles and demanding the scrapping of the Act.