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The vigil before 16-year hunger strike ends

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The vigil before 16-year hunger strike ends

The 44-year-old activist who has been on a hunger strike for almost 16 years to protest alleged brutality by India's military is expected to end her fast on August 9.

Sharmila began her hunger strike at the age of 28 demanding repeal of AFSPA - the controversial law allows armed forces in disturbed areas to carry out searches and raids without the fear of legal action.

With militant outfits issuing dictate against the Irom Sharmila joining politics and marrying a non-resident Indian (NRI) security of Irom has become a matter of big concern.

The "Iron Lady of Manipur" started her strike on November 5, 2000, three days after she allegedly saw a group of army men kill 10 people at a bus stop in Malom near her home. She is also aiming to contest in 2017 Manipur elections.

On the next day, Sharmila ridiculed and rejected the Chief Minister's proposal before media. She is then likely to be released from Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences, which has been virtually turned into a jail for her.

In last 16 years it is over 400 times that Sharmila has been produced to court.

Whereas the people of Manipur, particularly members of SAKL have been keeping a close watch over Sharmila's life, her elder brother Shinghajit resigned from being a Government employee and he has been assisting his sister's crusade. "She is waiting for the moment of her victory which will come only when AFSPA is repealed", Singhajit, who will be present at the courtroom tomorrow, said.

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Nonetheless, SAKL would like to ask a few questions to Sharmila, Momon said.

"She will not go there to meet her".

Irom says in the interview that Desmond's letters and thoughts made her fall for him and she has carefully kept them in a box by her bedside.

The way Desmond Coutinho held Sharmila's hand inside Court complex was an insult to all the womenfolk of Manipur, she remarked.

Terming the opposition against Sharmila's decision to contest elections and get married as "appalling", the PPFA stated, "Sharmila's decision to end her fast should be respected and nobody can come on her way for a new life".

Babloo argued, "The government of India has not heeded to non-violent protest of Sharmila".

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