After being on fast for the last 16 years demanding repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, Manipur’s ‘Iron Lady’ Irom Chanu Sharmila ended her fast on Tuesday afternoon.
The 44-year-old iconic rights activist, who was forcibly fed through a nasal tube since 2000 to keep her alive at a prison-turned-hospital, broke her fast at a local court in Imphal.
The family and her supporters, who have not been able to meet her since July 26 when she announced her decision to end her fast and enter politics to ensure that AFSPA is repealed through political means, have no idea where she is going to stay from now on.
Local activist Kshetrimayum Onil, who has been associated with Sharmila for a long time, said they tried many times but failed to meet her to discuss the future strategy on AFSPA.
Doctors attending Sharmila said she might have to be kept on a liquid diet for the next few days as her body might not be able to digest solid food all of a sudden.
“A person who has not eaten solid food for 16 years cannot start it suddenly. She has to start slowly and gradually in small quantities,” they said.
Sharmila’s struggle has been the nucleus of all protests against AFSPA in Manipur and the neighbouring north-eastern states.
On November 2, 2000, an Assam Rifles battalion had allegedly killed 10 civilians in a village near Imphal. Three days later, Sharmila embarked on her fast demanding revocation of SPAFA, which allows security men to even kill a person on suspicion without the fear of facing a trial in court.