Imphal: Civil rights campaigners in Manipur are upset with the majority media for blowing up activist Anna Hazare’s anti-graft fast that entered its 6th day on Sunday and overlooked the over decade-long hunger strike by Irom Chanu Sharmila against rights violations.
Singhajit Singh, a civil rights campaigner and elder brother of Sharmila “There is a general sense of feeling that we, the people of the northeast, have always been neglected, discriminated, and looked down upon by the rest of India, including the mainstream media. See how Anna’s fast has hogged media headlines and sees our very own Irom fasting for nearly 11 years.”
Dubbed as the Iron Lady of Manipur, Sharmila began her fast Nov 2, 2000, after witnessing the killing of 10 people by the army at a bus stop near her home. She was arrested presently after beginning her protest on charges of attempted suicide. She was sent to a prison hospital where she began a daily routine of being force-fed via a nasal drip.
Tushar Singh, another rights campaigner said that “If Anna was born in Manipur and Sharmila born in New Delhi, things would have been just the reverse. For the mainstream media, northeast or things happening in the northeast hardly excites them.”
He also added that “The feeling of alienation among the people of northeast not being part of the mainstream naturally sets in and this is one of the reasons for breeding insurgency in the region. And the case in point is the discrimination in media coverage and attention shown towards Anna’s fast and Sharmila’s crusade.”