Imphal: Irom Sharmila, who has been fasting against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), ended her 16-year-long fast today, at 4:25 pm, by taking a sip of water and honey before the media. The Iron Lady of Manipur, as she has been known, now wants to contest elections as an independent candidate. She addressed the public in Manipuri, with her brother, Irom Singhajit beside her.
“I have been fasting for 16 years and not got anything from it. I want to try different agitation now – one that will see me contest against the chief minister of the state,” Furthermore, she insisted that she will not go home to see her mother, because her fight is not over. She will do so only when AFSPA is repealed from Manipur.
PTI quoted her as saying, “I will join politics. I want to become chief minister of Manipur.”
The Hindustan Times reported that the court had agreed to release her upon the submission of a bond and the judge wished her luck. She was granted bail against a Rs 10,000 bond earlier today.
Sharmila, who was confined in the Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital and fed through a nasal tube to keep her alive, had announced her decision on July 26.
Court proceedings began at 11.15 am.
She arrived at the district and sessions court in Imphal at 10:39 am, today, ANI reported.
Her brother, Irom Singhajit, told PTI on Monday, “She will be produced before a judicial magistrate tomorrow and the court will release her from judicial custody after she breaks her fast as she had announced a fortnight ago,” according to the Indian Express.
On November 2, 2000, Irom Sharmila had declared that she would fast unto death, when ten civilians were gunned down by the Assam Rifles at a bus stop near Imphal airport. She was arrested three days later, on November 5, under section 309 of the Indian Penal Code which prohibits the attempt to commit suicide. She has been charged with the same offence several times.
In addition to ending her fast, she had also declared she would like to get married. Her family had expressed surprise at the announcement. Singhajit had told The Wire earlier, “The news has taken us by surprise. Since I am unwell for some time, I couldn’t go to the court today. I met her last month, she didn’t mention anything about it and then we hear today that she is breaking her fast on August 9.”
Activists supporting Sharmila’s decision see this as a new beginning in the fight against AFSPA, and believe that Sharmila’s entry into the political milieu will have a huge impact on the Manipur, News18 wrote.