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Hazare campaign a lesson for Sharmila supporters

Imphal: Supporters of Manipur`s `Iron Lady` Irom Sharmila, who has been on hunger strike for the last 11 years demanding withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the state, are inspired by how Anna Hazare steered his anti-corruption campaign to success by fasting for only 12 days.

"It has been an inspiration for us. We have realised that if our movement is more organised and we manage to garner a pan-India support, the government would be bound to listen to us," Sharmila`s long-time associate Babloo Loitongbam told PTI here.

However, Loitongbam admitted that theirs is a much more difficult fight than Hazare`s.

Sharmila`s elder brother Irom Singhajit, who has now turned into a human rights activist, also admitted that their struggle against the `draconian` AFSPA has got new motivation from Hazare`s crusade against corruption.

"His movement shows that Parliament also listens to the voice of people. So this is the right time to strengthen ourselves and make our voices heard," he said.

Singhajit said they have realised is that there must be a political platform to voice concern about the AFSPA.

However, he clarified, "That doesn`t mean we will support any particular political party."

Babloo, who leads Manipur`s Human Rights Alert and the Just Peace Foundation, said they are looking to broaden their support base.

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