Irom Chanu Sharmila, the "Iron Lady of Manipur" wrote to Anna Hazare expressing her solidarity with him and at the same time highlighting the difference of environment between the two non-violent crusaders.
Welcoming the invitation to join the rally, she wrote, "I whole heartedly welcome your invitation to join the anti corruption rally you are crusading."
Thirty-eight-year-old Sharmila expressed her solidarity to Anna's "amazing crusade to root out corruption," while at the same time seeking reciprocity from Team Anna towards her cause to repeal the Arm Forces Special Power Act, or AFSPA.
The Iron Lady expressed her inability to participate in the rally as she is currently being held in judicial custody at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College in Imphal, the capital of Manipur.
"She wanted to join this amazing movement in Delhi but she is in judicial custody in Manipur. She fully supports Hazare's crusade against corruption, which has eaten deep into our system. Manipur is one of the most corrupt states in the country," said Rojesh Seram, a close associate of Sharmila.
"Non-violence, taught to us by the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, is the only means to achieve solutions. It is really good that the nation has woken up to corruption and the protest is centered at New Delhi so the lawmakers will be able to understand the intensity," she said in a recent interview to Tehelka.
"If Anna's protest had been here in Manipur, the response would not have been so vigorous. The Centre has never tried to lend an ear to our cause, the national media barring a few has not been sensitive to Northeast, and this is a symbolic example of discrimination," she said, highlighting the discrimination among two Gandhian crusaders.
Here is the full text of Sharmila's reply to Hazare:
JUST PEACE FOUNDATION
Kongpal Kongkham Leikai
Imphal East - 795001
Sharmila response to Anna's invitation
23 August 2011, Tuesday
10.27am, Security Ward, JN Hospital
I whole heartedly welcome your invitation to join the anti corruption rally you are crusading. And yet I would like you to be convinced of the reality of my situation, that I cannot get the advantage of exercising my non-violent protest for justice against my concerned authority as a democratic citizen of a democratic country, unlike your environment. This is the problem I cannot understand.
My humble suggestion is if you feel seriously; please try to reach the concerned legislators (read authorities) to let me get free, like yours, to join your amazing crusade to root out corruption - which is the root of all evils. Or you can come to Manipur, the most corruption affected region in the world.
With full solidarity and best wishes.