New Delhi: Irom Sharmila, Manipur's "iron lady", appeared in New Delhi's Patiala Court on Monday in an attempt to suicide case. Sharmila has been on a fast-unto-death stir against the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) since past 12 years.
Sharmila's lawyers said since she has already been in custody for six years, she should be let off because under section 309 the period of imprisonment is only one year. They also told the court to treat Sharmila's case a special case and not just like any other hearing.
On landing in Delhi, 40-year-old Sharmila had reiterated she was not trying to commit suicide and that the fast was a valid political protest. "I don't want to commit suicide. I am protesting by non-violence at my best level...I am sure the government will listen to me and repeal AFSPA," she said.
Sharmila was charged under Section 309 when she brought her fast and protest against the AFSPA to Delhi six years ago. The social activist had then continued her fast and refused to take any medical intervention.
Her deteriorating condition had forced the Delhi Police to file charges against her and continue her force feeding at the AIIMS, before she was allowed to go back to Imphal. Sharmila launched her fast unto death in 2000 after 10 civilians were killed by Assam Rifles personnel at Malom area near Imphal airport.
She is currently lodged in a jail and is being fed through her nose at JNIMS Hospital in Imphal. The social activist has received several global awards and several prominent personalities from different parts of the country have visited her in support of her demands.
The controversial AFSPA allows an officer of the armed forces to use measures such as make unwarranted arrests or search any premises to make arrests. The extreme clauses in the law, which has been implemented in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and was later extended to Jammu and Kashmir, have led to misuse of the powers given to the para-military forces, with civil rights activists launching widespread protests demanding its rollback.