Thursday, April 18, 2013



The first Irom Sharmila Scholarship has been awarded to twenty two year old Iymon Majeed from Panjipora village of Sopore district, Kashmir. He is studying for an MA in Political Science at Jamia Millia Islamia.  Iymon has been writing about Kashmiri experiences under AFSPA and militarism for various publications.  In his application Iymon wrote:

I am from the state of Jammu and Kashmir which comes under the Armed forces (Special Powers Act) from July 1990. Nine months later, on 7 March, 1991 I was born in the trouble torn town of Sopore in a small village of Panjipora. Four years later, in 1995, I was stamped with an agonizing experience on my memory. Indian Army commandeered our house and threw us out. In the next two years, we changed four houses, with us finally migrating to the main town of Sopore in north Kashmir. When the insurgency in Kashmir started in early 1990’s, Indian state flowed in thousands of its army men into the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the coming years. Providing lodging for the military in the residential areas was a daunting task before the Indian government. Army, then, took residence in the already vacated Kashmiri Pandith homes but also asked the local Muslim population to vacate the houses. My house was one of the hundreds of unlucky houses taken by the army and I became vagrant in my own land.

The committee received over 50 applications of which 40 were found eligible. The others were BA students or students studying outside Delhi. The applicants came from all the states of the Northeast and Kashmir and from all the different educational institutions in Delhi.  The jury shortlisted four people for interview. This was a difficult choice, as many of the students were meritorious and had suffered tremendously under armed conflict. Of those shortlisted, one had his father killed by militants, and another by the security forces. Several had been displaced, and some had been shot at or picked up themselves.  Despite this, they were all pursuing higher education seriously.

The award is based on a combination of financial need, academic seriousness, suffering under AFSPA or similar laws and both present and potential contribution to the democratic struggle against AFSPA and militarism in the spirit of Irom Sharmila.  It is a one-time cash award of Rs. 50,000, and is restricted to post graduate students enrolled in any university or institute in Delhi.

The jury consisted of A. Bimol Akoijam, CSSS, JNU; Kamei Aphun, Department of Sociology, Delhi University; Ujjwal Kumar Singh, Department of Political Science, Delhi University; Nandini Sundar, Department of Sociology, Delhi University, and Sameer Yasir, Islamic University of Science and Technology, Kashmir.