Sixteen years after she started a hunger strike to repeal AFSPA from Manipur. Irom Sharmila Chanu finally became a free woman on Tuesday. Sitting in the courtyard outside the special ward of Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS), where she has lived as an under trial prisoner this entire time. Sharmila took a dab of honey to end her fast at 4.25 pm. However day ended on a bitter note, with residents of a colony where she had gone to stay turning her away. Also the Iskon temple reportedly refusing to take responsibility for her.
Irom Sharmila speaking to media
‘My love life is my personal life. That is my right to choose. It is only natural. I have ended my fast today because I want power,’ said Irom Sharmila.
Breaking her fast in front of national and international media, Sharmila was handed a 100 ml bottle of Dabur honey by her attending doctor. This is the first time in 16 years that anything has passed Sharmila’s mouth. In her room at the special ward, she has been force fed through a Ryles tube.
‘In Manipur, there is no real democracy. Politics is so dirty here and everyone knows it. Manipuri society is also involved in this dirtiness but no one accepts it. That’s the problem,’ stated Sharmila. I am not restricted to this State or Nation. I am the embodiment of revolution.
Manipur women reacted on Irom Sharmila’s decision
Meanwhile, angry Meira Paibis who attended court proceedings protested outside the courtroom. The group said they were heartbroken with Sharmila’s decision. ‘We have stood by her for so many years. And now it has come to this. We have had to live to see this day,’ said Ima S Mamon.
Binalakshmi Nepram on Irom Sharmila
‘People are puzzled, stunned and angry. Sharmila is otherwise quite stubborn but she has to know that she would always need the support of her people in whatever she does. She needs to take people along with her. Sharmila has to work hard, reconnect with the people, tour the villages,’ said Binalakshmi Nepram, secretary general of the Control Arms Foundation of India told media.
Binalakshmi further added Sharmila has not seen any Manipuri village in all these years. She cannot just remain as an icon on a pedestal. Sharmila needs to seriously reconsider her decision to contest the upcoming Manipur Assembly election.
Iskon denied entry to Irom Sharmila
After being kept at the city police station for a while. Irom Sharmila was taken to the ISKCON temple complex, where she had expressed a desire to stay. But the temple has refused to take her responsibility. ‘I am very dejected by the reaction of people. I don’t care if I die of hunger or at the hands of the people. But I will think of a way to take this forward,’ Sharmila added.
With nowhere else to turn, Sharmila was in the evening taken back to JNIMS, where she has now been admitted as a patient, not a prisoner. ‘I will go back to my own world.’
Source-Esha Roy, Simantik Dowerah