Irom Sharmila, one of the most powerful voice against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), is set to take her struggle mainstream. Breaking her fast, which was her way of protest for the last 16 years demanding the removal of AFSPA from Manipur, the 44-year-old iconic rights activist vowed to keep her fight on.
“I will joint politics. I want to become chief minister of Manipur,” Irom Sharmila said after breaking her fast.
“If I become chief minister, the first thing I will do is remove the draconian AFSPA,” she added before the press pack who were eagerly waiting to hear the frail activist very often termed as ‘Iron Lady’.
Outside a government hospital, a room of which was turned into a jail for her, the activist turned emotional as she licked honey from her palm to end the fast. During her fast she was force-fed through a nasal tube to keep her alive. While the familiar Ryles tube hanging from her nose will not be there anymore, Sharmila is readying herself for a political battle to achieve what she couldn’t during her protest fast.
“I need power. In Manipur politics is so dirty and everyone knows it. But people don’t realise that the people are also involved in this dirtiness,” she said, adding “I want to invite 20 independent candidates to join me and topple Chief Minister Ibobi”.
Asked about Narendra Modi, she said, “Mr Prime Minister, you need non-violence in this age. Without this draconian law (AFSPA) you would be able to connect with us. PM Modi needs to follow the path of non-violence of Gandhiji”.
She said that she would now stay in an Ashram and wouldn’t need any security. “I don’t like to be called a Goddess of Manipur. I am a human being,” she said.
Earlier in the day, Imphal West district’s chief judicial magistrate Lamkhanpau Tonsing in his order said as the offence under section 309 (attempt to suicide) is a bailable offence he is inclined to allow her on bail on her furnishing a personal bond of Rs 10,000.
After the bond was furnished, it was accepted by the court and a release order issued. She has been asked to appear before the court again on August 23.
(With inputs from the PTI)