Imphal: The 'Iron Lady' of Manipur and social activist Irom Chanu Sharmila is set to end her fast on Tuesday, nearly 16 years after she started her protest against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in Manipur.
Around 10.39 am, she came out of the Imphal hospital and headed for a local court to official declare that she is going to end her fast. There are speculations that she might contest the next year Assembly Elections in Manipur to press her demand politically.
Irom, who was forcibly fed through a nasal tube since 2000 to keep her alive at a prison-turned-hospital, is set to end her fast at a local court in Imphal.
On July 26, Irom told mediapersons outside the Imphal Court that she wanted to contest elections after breaking her fast.
Activists associated with her said her decision would mark a new beginning in the fight against AFSPA in the state. Her decision to contest state elections is likely to have a huge impact on Manipur's political scene.
On November 2, 2000, Irom began a hunger strike (unto death) to protest against the gunning down by the Assam Rifles of 10 civilians waiting at a bus stop at Malom near Imphal airport.
On November 5, 2000 she was arrested three days after the fast and on November 21, 2000, she was force-fed through nasogastric intubation in order to keep her alive while under arrest, as her health had deteriorated severely.
Under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, in the 7 North-Eastern states and J&K, the armed forces can arrest, search without a warrant and use force on the basis of "reasonable suspicion" that a person is engaging in anti-national activities.