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Kodaikanal activist objects to Irom Sharmila's marriage

The plea states that Sharmila and Coutinho's stay in Kodaikanal would affect peace in the hill station.
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Dindigul (TN), Jul 14: A local social activist has filed an objection to the proposed marriage of human rights campaigner Irom Sharmila with her long-time partner Desmond Coutinho, a British national, at the office of the Sub-Registrar in Kodaikanal.

Human rights campaigner Irom Sharmila

The activist, V Mahendran, from Pethuparai near Kodaikanal filed a petition in the office against Sharmila's proposed marriage with Desmond Coutinho. He contended that if the couple was granted permission, they would settle in Kodaikanal permanently and this was not good for the interests of local residents and safety of the place.

In his plea filed with the Sub-Registrar at Kodaikanal, he said Coutinho was in charge of a website, engaged in activities around the world, and their stay here would affect peace in the hill station. The Sub-Registrar had called for objections under the Special Marriage Act between Sharmila and the British national as they belonged to different nations and different religions.

Meanwhile, Subramanian, an advocate, who specialises in marriage act, wondered if the petitioner had any 'locus standi' to file objections and if the grounds were valid. Sharmila had moved to this hill town with Coutinho following her defeat in the Manipur state assembly elections in March last and her party 'People's Resurgence and Justice Alliance' had suffered a rout.

The 44-year-old shot to fame after she launched her fast-unto-death on November 4, 2000, demanding withdrawal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 from Manipur. Sharmila, also known as 'Iron Lady', broke her 16-year-long hunger strike, the world's longest, on August 9, 2016 and declared she wanted to become the chief minister so that she could repeal the contentious AFSPA.


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