July 26, 2016

'Iron Lady' Irom Sharmila Chanu to fight Manipur polls, ends fast after 16 years

Irom Sharmila Chanu, who is better known as Iron Lady of Manipur has been on a hunger strike for the past 16 years demanding repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). The brave activist today announced her decision to end the fast on August 9, 2016 and contest state Assembly elections, scheduled in 2017.

ALSO READ :Irom Sharmila Chanu Completed 11 Years Hunger Strike

I will end my fast on August 9 and contest elections,”  said the 44 years old activist, after coming out from a local court.

ALSO READ : Irom Sharmila Chanu's pics..

After protesting for 16 years, she felt that her fast will not lead to the repeal of the 'draconian' AFSPA. She has refused to eat or drink anything since November, 2000 after 10 civilians were gunned down by Assam Rifles soldiers at a bus stop in Malom, Imphal.

Although the maximum punishment under Section 309 of IPC is a one-year jail term, the activist has been in custody for almost that entire duration of her hunger strike, released and rearrested almost immediately every year so that she can be fed through a nasal tube in Imphal’s Jawahar Lal Nehru Hospital, a special ward of which acts as her prison.

ALSO READ : About Irom Sharmila Chanu..

She has been charged multiple times with section 309 of the IPC for attempting to commit suicide, kept in custody for 365 days (the maximum punishment under section 309), released for a few days and then rearrested with fresh charges under the same section. She has stated time and again that she is not guilty of the charges against her, as hers is a peaceful protest and not an attempt to end her own life.

Sharmila’s brother Irom Singhajit was quite surprised after he heard this news. There 83-year-old mother Shakhi Devi, who lives with Singhajit, has not been told of the news yet. Sharmila has not met her mother since she began fast in 2000. Sharmila has only met her mother once since she began fast in 2000, as seeing her mother's anguish may break her resolve.

"I will join politics and my fight will continue,” said Sharmila.

-K Himaanshu Shuklaa..

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