AFSPA has caused ‘immense hardship’ to Manipuri people: Teary-eyed Irom Sharmila tells Court

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Irom Chanu Sharmila
Irom Chanu Sharmila

Urging the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act be scrapped, Manipuri right activist Irom Sharmila, Tuesday, told a Delhi court that the act has caused “immense hardship” to the people of the State and thousands of innocent persons have been killed over the years.

Sharmila is facing trial for allegedly trying to commit suicide while undertaking fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar in 2006. Ms. Sharmila said, police had violated her fundamental rights and implicated her in a false case.

The 42-year-old activist also broke down in the court while recording her statement. She is on a fast for around 15 years in Manipur demanding repeal of AFSPA. She told Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain that she had sat on a fast at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on October 4, 2006, but she was forcibly removed by the police from there.

“It is correct that I had sat on fast at Jantar Mantar on October 4, 2006 but I have been fasting since 2000 and same has not affected my health and I have never refused medical check up,” she said.

“I have been demanding that AFSPA be repealed or lifted from Manipur as the same has caused immense hardship to the common man of Manipur. Thousands of innocent people have been killed, hundreds of rapes have taken place on Manipur’s women. No action has been taken under the garb of AFSPA,” added Sharmila.

Sharmila, who was fed through a nasal tube, also told the court that she has been continuing her struggle against AFSPA and as the issue was attaining attention worldwide, the police violated her fundamental rights and forcibly removed her from Jantar Mantar during her fast in 2006.

The court concluded the recording of Ms. Sharmila’s statement during which she said that she wants to examine witnesses in her defence. The court has now fixed the matter for Wednesday, when Ms. Sharmila’s lawyer would file a list of defence witness.

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