Rights activist continues fast after release from jail

Imphal, March 10 (IANS) Manipur human rights activist Irom Sharmila, who has been on a fast-unto-death for 10 years over the repeal of an armed forces act in the state, was under police supervision as she continued her fast despite being released by the court, officials said here Wednesday.

The activist is protesting the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA).

‘Sharmila, who will turn 38 on March 14, was released by the local court Monday after she completed one year of detention. As her condition became precarious, the police maintained a close vigil on her,’ an official told reporters.

‘Most of Sharmila’s internal organs were affected. During the past one year Sharmila was lodged at the jail-converted Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital in Imphal, where she was nose-fed,’ doctors attending to the writer turned rights activist said.

A determined Sharmila told newsmen that there was no question of her breaking the fast until the AFSPA was repealed. ‘The misuse of the draconian law resulted in people getting killed,’ she said.

Sharmila had earlier rejected appeals from presidents, prime ministers and other national leaders to break her fast.

On November 2, 2000 some militants exploded a bomb near the airport here, as some vehicles of the para-military Assam Rifles were passing by. There was no casualty or damage in the explosion.

However, subsequently the Assam Rifles troopers opened fire killing 10 people in that area. In protest, Sharmila launched the indefinite fast.

Women activists, under the ‘Save Sharmila Kanba Lup’ (Save Sharmila Committee), have been on an indefinite hunger strike in Imphal for the past one year urging the government to fulfil Sharmila’s demand.

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