Imphal, Aug 9: Irom Sharmila will break her 16 year old fast on Tuesday. There is a lot of confusion regarding the kind of reception Sharmila, considered to be a living icon of mass struggle against the Armed Forces Special Protection Act (AFSPA), will get.
A few days back threats of assassination were handed out to her. Now it is very unclear how her family would react as they have been saying that she never consulted them on this decision.
Sharmila had indicated that she wanted to get married and also join politics. She has also said that she would contest as an independent candidate and will continue her fight against AFSPA.
As per the reports in the local media, there is nothing special that is being planned by the family members. Her mother, the 84-year-old Irom Sakhi says that she had prayed for Sharmila everyday. "I had said I would feed her the first morsel of food the day AFSPA was repealed," she said.
Everyone is guessing
Going by the statement made by Sharmila's mother, it is clear that there is some amount of discomfort in the ties. The problem however, is not her decision to withdraw the fast without consulting them. The bone of contention has been her relationship with her Goan born British fiancee, Desmond Countinho.
There were reports of family members threatening Countinho. Further, the family also felt that she should not have been involved with a non-Manipuri. This has created a wide divide in the family. To state that she was breaking off her fast to get married has only made matters worse.
Adding to her woes are threats from radical factions as well. While some human rights groups have openly criticised her decision, the radical faction has warned that she will be eliminated. Human Rights groups feel that her decision to end the fast is as bad as her decision to join politics.
On the other hand, is a lesser known group called the Alliance for Socialist Unity, Kangleipak which has issued a threat to her. The group reminds her that some others were eliminated after they had deviated from the cause and then facing the elections.
The group urges her to continue her fast. N Oken the chairman of this group says that all those who joined politics did so knowing well that it was a dead end. Further the group also said that she should not marry a non-local person.