Imphal Court Quashes Attempt to Suicide Charge Against Irom Sharmila

Irom Sharmila breaking her fast. Credit: PTI/Files

Irom Sharmila breaking her fast. Credit: PTI/Files

An Imphal court on Wednesday quashed the charges of attempt to suicide under Indian Penal Code section 307 against Manipuri activist Irom Sharmila, The Hindu reported.

“Now that I’m a free woman, I’ll convene a new political party on October 10 to fight the coming election,” Sharmila told journalists after the judgment, according to the newspaper.

Sharmila ended her 16-year-long fast against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) on September 9. The Iron Lady of Manipur, as she has been known, the announced that she wants to contest elections and be the chief minister of the state.

The 44-year-old activist was in custody for almost the entire duration of her hunger strike, released and rearrested almost immediately every year so that she could be fed through a nasal tube. She was 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 stated time and again during her strike 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.

In March 2015, a trial court in Delhi acquitted her of the same charge, put against her in 2006 during an indefinite fast in the capital demanding the revocation of AFSPA from Manipur.