Indian activist who raised voice against Kashmir violence ends hunger strike

Irom Sharmila campaigns for repeal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which covers large parts of occupied Kashmir


Afp August 09, 2016
Irom Sharmila began her protest after seeing the army kill 10 people at a bus stop near her home in Manipur. PHOTO: AFP

GUWAHATI, INDIA: An Indian rights activist who has waged what is thought to be the world's longest hunger strike ended her 16-year fast on Tuesday, two weeks after declaring she was entering politics.

Irom Sharmila, dubbed the "Iron Lady of Manipur" for her unwavering protest against rights abuses in the insurgency-hit northeast Indian state, was released on bail after she promised a court she would end her fast.

She had been held in judicial custody on charges of attempting suicide -- still a criminal offence in India -- and force-fed through a plastic tube.

"I have been released on bail following my personal written bond," she told journalists outside the court in the Manipur capital Imphal.

Two Indian border guards, rebel killed in Kashmir

Irom is campaigning for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which covers large parts of the northeast and the restive state of Kashmir.

It gives Indian forces sweeping powers to search, enter property and shoot on sight, and is seen by critics as a cover for human rights abuses.

The Indian government says security forces need the powers to help them battle multiple rebel groups whose long-standing demands range from secession to greater autonomy and land rights.

She began her fast on November 2, 2000 after allegedly witnessing the killing of 10 people by the army at a bus stop near her home.

Two weeks ago she surprised supporters by declaring she would end it to stand in 2017 state elections as an independent candidate.

"My fight so far has been all alone and so I have decided to wage a war against the (AFSPA) act democratically by becoming a lawmaker instead of continuing with my fast," she told reporters at the time.

COMMENTS (9)

Iqbal | 5 years ago | Reply ET's reporting standards have gone downhill ever since it was taken over by the Taliban. In UK all the newspapers have splashed their papers with the news that the murderer of Mr Shah in Glasgow (an Ahmadiya) has been given life sentence. ET are not even reporting this and instead reports untrue stories. Totally childish - about time it grew up!!! Will this be printed?
np | 5 years ago | Reply ET - Wrong headline. Irom has nothing to do with Kashmir She is purely protesting ASFPA in Manipur. Please correct headline. @point:Why would we say that? Irom's non-violent protest is something everyone respects.
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