Irom's indefinite fast completes 11 years
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Imphal, Nov 5: 'Iron Lady' Irom Chanu Sharmila, who is demanding repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Manipur, today completed 11 years of her indefinite hunger-strike.
On November 2, 2000, an Assam Rifles battalion allegedly killed 10 civilians in a village near Imphal. Three days later, Sharmila embarked on her fast, demanding revocation of the Act.
Since then it has settled into a ritual which involves a ten-minute ambulance journey from hospital to court every fortnight where the magistrate asks her whether she would break her fast.
The ritual has repeated itself over 500 times so far, but her reply remains the same - "Fast thodolokai" (No, I won't break my fast). The court then extends her judicial remand for another 15 days.
She hasn't ingested food or water all these years and is force-fed through a nasal tube. Hunger strike is seen as an attempt to commit suicide, which is a punishable offence.
The 39-year-old civil rights activist, described as a 'habitual offender' by the court, has been arrested, released and re-arrested for attempt to commit suicide. Produced as an undertrial prisoner at the Imphal East district's CJM court, she has refused bail each time.
"If she accepts bail she has to give a written undertaking of not repeating the offence. In other words, she has to discontinue her fast for getting bail," Sharmila's long-time associate Babloo Loitongbam of the Just Peace Foundation told PTI.
The police, too, have not filed any charge sheet in the case.
An isolated ward of the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences, where she is forcibly nasally-fed, has now become her home.
"Her only companion is books and medicines. Hardly any visitor is allowed to meet her," said Irom Singhajit, Sharmila's younger sister who has also turned into a human rights activist.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 5 Nov 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 5 Nov 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 6 Nov 2011 00:00:00 IST
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