Irom Sharmila on AFSPA: Govt, Army colluding to cheat people

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Irom Sharmila
New Delhi, March 5: A court in Delhi on Monday charged Manipur's Iron Lady Irom Sharmila Chanu with attempt to commit suicide. On Sunday, she came to the national capital from Imphal, Manipur to appear in the court in relation to the case where she has been charged with attempt to commit suicide during her fast until death at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on October 5, 2006.

If convicted Sharmila, who is out on bail in the case, faces a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for May 22.

The 40-year-old peace-activist is on a hunger strike for last 12 years. She is demanding the repeal of draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

On being asked about government's stand on the controversial AFSPA, Sharmila said, "The government and the Army are colluding to cheat the people. The government is of the people, by the people and for the people. The government should control the Army also."

"The government will listen. It depends on the movement of the people because we are a democracy. What I want is peace and justice, not the administration of a government that uses violence as a means for their governance," she told reporters, outside the Delhi Court on Monday.

The court said, "It is alleged against you Sharmila...that you on October 4, 2006 at about 8 pm sat at Jantar Mantar on fast unto death until 11.30 pm on October 6, 2006 and refused to undergo medical check up and thereby committed an act with an intention or knowledge that under such circumstances that death may be caused and thereby committed an offence under Section 309 and within the cognisance of this court."

The Magistrate added ,"I respect you, but the law of the land does not permit you to take your life."

However, a frail, but determined Sharmila told the court, "I do not want to commit suicide. Mine is a non-violent protest. It is my demand to live as a human being. I love life. I do not want to take my life but I want justice and peace"

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