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Irom Sharmila to end 16 years long hunger strike; Announces to contest elections

July 26, 2016 | By

Imphal: Manipur activist Irom Sharmila today announced that she would end her hunger strike of 16 years against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). She also announced to contest elections.

“I will break my fast as the government has failed to give any positive response. I will end my fast on August 9 and contest elections,” the 44-year-old activist announced before the press as she came out of a local court.

She said she no longer believed her fast would help repeal the draconian law. “That is why I will join politics and continue to fight,” said Sharmila.

The Manipur Assembly elections are due in 2017.

Irom Sharmila (Iron Lady of Manipur) [File Photo]

Irom Sharmila (Iron Lady of Manipur) [File Photo]

Irom Sharmila, who is regarded as the Iron Lady of Manipur, has been on a hunger strike against the law since 2000. However, she has been forcefed through a nasal tube in a ward that acts as her prison at Imphal’s Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital.

She has been arrested and released on several occasions for attempted suicide, an offence that attracts a year’s jail.

AFSPA is a draconian law imposed by the Indian State in several regions of the Indian sub-continent that are marked as “disturbed areas”. This law provides “special powers” to armed forces of the Indian state and protects human rights abuses under ‘impunity’ clauses. Human Rights bodies condemn AFSPA as major source of impunity and high rate of human rights abuses in areas like Manipur and Kashmir.

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