South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Social activist from Manipur, Irom Sharmila, during a campaign to save Periyar in Kochi on Sunday.

A day after an activist filed a petition against giving permission for activist Irom Sharmila’s marriage, many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and human rights activists in the region have come out in support of Irom Sharmila with the first statement coming from Madurai-based NGO Society for Community Organisation (SOCO) Trust.

In a letter issued by the Deputy Director of the trust S. Selvagomathy, who was recently in the news for her public interest litigation that resulted in the Madras High Court’s stay against the Central government’s rules on cattle sales, expressed suspicion that there was a conspiracy behind the opposition to Ms. Sharmila’s marriage.

Condemning the petition submitted at the Sub-Registrar’s office by a person claiming to be a ‘social activist’ on the grounds that Ms. Sharmila’s decision to marry and settle in Kodaikanal would affect peace in Kodaikanal, Ms. Selvagomathy said that it was an individual’s right to decide whom and where she should marry.

‘Infringement on rights’

Stating that interference in such personal choices should not be tolerated in any civilized society, she said that such interferences were also blatant violations of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

On the activist’s claim that Ms. Sharmila might fight for the tribal people on the hills thereby affecting peace and safety in Kodaikanal, Ms. Selvagomathy said that it is the democratic right of every person to organise people against injustices.

“If there are injustices meted out to tribal people, then turning a blind eye and being insensitive towards it will be a betrayal to our Constitution,” she said.

Highlighting the historic 16-year-long non-violent struggle of Ms. Sharmila against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, Ms. Selvagomathy said that she had come to Kodaikanal as a guest. The statement urged for action against those intentionally spreading rumours against Ms. Sharmila.


Updated On:  JULY 15, 2017