TODAY -

Sharmila walks free, but resumes fast
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, August 20 2014: A day after the court of District and Sessions Judge, Manipur East dropped the charge of attempt to commit suicide and ordered the Government of Manipur to release her, Irom Sharmila, who has been on a fast for nearly 14 years now in pursuance of her demand for repealing Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), walked free on Wednesday.

Members of Sharmila Kanba Apunba Lup (SAKAL) and human rights activists greeted the 42-year old anti-AFSPA crusader and human rights activist as she walked out from the security ward of Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) here where she had been kept confined all these years at around 5:45 pm.

Speaking to the media persons soon after her release, an emotionally overwhelmed Sharmila said, "I am crying because I am emotional.

I want AFSPA to be removed as it is a draconian law.

Until and unless my demand is fulfilled I will not touch anything with my mouth.

I'm free now, it is my right" .



Sharmila walks free, but resumes fast
Sharmila walks free, but resumes fast


Sharmila further said that she is happy to be released but will continue her fast.

"I feel the court ruling was politically right.

But I want to know from the Government what type of democratic setup had forced me to live on artificial feeding.

The Government had spent huge public money to feed me in the hope to suppress my protest.

I want the Government to compensate the money as it was not pocket money", the winner of the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights added.

She went on to say, "For the last 14 years, I've been suffering so much.

I want everyone's support.

I am not a victim but an activist.

People should support me, not just treat me like a hero.

I don't want anyone to sing my glory." "It is the right time to rise against the Government with a mass support to my struggle.

My health could become worse and the Government might try to re-arrest me.

So, I would like to know the intent of the people on my campaign and if they want me to discontinue, then they should tell me straightforward and if they want me to continue, I would like to appeal to the people that at least 50 of them should join me," Sharmila, who is also known as the "Iron Lady of Manipur" for her unwavering and non-violent protest against prolonged imposition of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), added.

When asked what her expectations from the Modi government are, Sharmila said, "All I want is that the new Government of India should meet my demands" .

Sharmila, who was then 28 years old, began her fast in November 2000 after witnessing the killing of 10 civilians by the Assam Rifles personnel, who resorted to indiscriminate firing at a bus waiting shed at Malom in retaliation of a reported attack by militants on them.

The incident later on came to be known as the infamous "Malom Massacre" .

Sharmila was arrested on charges of attempt to commit suicide under Section 309 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and kept confined in the security ward of JN Hospital at Porompat where she was force-fed through a nasal drip several times a day.

Sharmila has been refusing food and water for nearly 14 years to draw attention to abuses allegedly committed by security forces under the shadow of AFSPA which gives sweeping power to personnel of Armed Forces to do anything with no fear for prosecution.

Shortly after her release, Sharmila, resumed her fast at Khurai Ayangpalli Road, a site where relay hunger strike is often staged by her supporters.


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