10 years on, ‘Iron Lady’ refuses to end her fast
October 28, 2010 Leave a comment
On November 2, Irom Sharmila will complete 10 years of her fast demanding repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, in Manipur.
The protest started on November 2, 2000. Upset at an “encounter” at Mallom here, in which 10 innocent persons including a middle-aged woman were mowed down by 8 Assam Rifles personnel, Ms. Sharmila began her fast. Two days later, she was arrested on the charge of trying to commit suicide.
The law allows authorities to detain her for one year in one-go. At the end of every year she is released. However, instead of going home, she continues fast, and the police to re-arrest her within 48 hours. In fact, a room in the J.N. Hospital here was converted into a sub-jail for lodging her.
Ms. Sharmila was honoured by South Korea with the country’s highest human rights award. Recently she was given the Rabindranath Tagore award, carrying Rs. 51 lakh in cash and a citation. Despite appeals by many, she has refused to break her fast.