I am not committing suicide; but opposing AFSPA: Irom

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Irom Sharmila
New Delhi, March 4: She is Manipur's Iron Lady. The 40-year-old peace-activist Irom Sharmila Chanu is on a hunger strike for last 12 years.

She is protesting to repeal the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

On Sunday, she was brought to New Delhi to appear before a court on Monday in connection with the hunger strike she staged at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi on October 5, 2006.

"I am not committing suicide. This is my way of protest. I am protesting by non-violent means," she said, while arriving at New Delhi.

"In Manipur, due to AFSPA, violence has become the means of administration. The Indian government must repeal it," added the frail looking woman, who is adamant to continue with her fast till AFSPA is not repealed.

"If we keep fighting, the law will be repealed. Our voices will be heard."

"...Why is the government afraid of Army? Why is it appeasing the Army? Why can't it take a decision for the good of the people," she said.

Sharmila started her hunger strike in Nov 2000 after the "Malom Massacre" - an incident in which 10 innocent persons were killed by personnel of the Assam Rifles.

She was arrested by the police and when her condition began to deteriorate, she was transferred to the Jawaharlal Institute of Medical Sciences where she is force fed.

The law under which Sharmila is detained allows the police to detain her for a year, after which she is released. As she refuses to break her world-record fast, she is again arrested and then produced in court every 15 days for the extension of her custody.

She has been the recipient of several awards including the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights in 2007 and the Rabindranath Tagore Peace Prize in 2010.

OneIndia News

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