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Friday, 4 November 2011

Irom's fight completes 11 yrs, continues

As Anna Hazare gave his anti-corruption campaign a fresh boost by breaking his 19-day ‘maun vrat’ in Delhi, another campaign in a faraway corner of the country quietly reached an important milestone. Irom Sharmila, the ‘Iron Lady’ of Manipur, has completed 11 years of her hunger strike against the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

Sharmila: On fast for repeal of the AFSPA since November 5, 2000.

Sharmila, also known as ‘menghoubi’ (the fair one), hasn’t ingested food or water all these years and is force-fed through a nasal tube.

On Friday, she was produced before a district court here for further remand of 15 days, a fortnightly ritual, before returning to a special ward at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences.
“I will continue the struggle. It is up to the authorities to listen to the demand or ignore it,” she said.

Hunger strike is seen as an attempt to commit suicide, which is a punishable offence. So, the state has to arrest her, only to release her after a year, as per law.

A support group, Save Democracy Repeal AFSPA, has organised nation-wide demonstrations, including a day-long fast, on Saturday.

On November 2, 2000, an Assam Rifles battalion killed 10 civilians in a village near Imphal. Three days later, Sharmila embarked on her fast, demanding revocation of the Act.


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