Irom Sharmila to break fast

Imphal : Manipuri political activist Irom Sharmila will break her 16-year long hunger strike against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act on Tuesday.

Sharmila has been campaigning against AFSPA — which provides special powers to handle insurgents in the North East and Jammu and Kashmir also.

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The 42-year-old activist, also known as Manipur’s ‘Iron Lady’ had announced on July 26 to end her hunger strike on August 9, the next date of her court hearing.

She made the announcement in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal west, L. Tonsing.

Sharmila also announced that she will marry and contest the Manipur assembly elections next year as an independent candidate.

She was termed a ‘Prisoner of conscience’ by Amnesty International and recipient of various prizes. Sharmila has declined food or drink for the last 16 years, seeking repeal of the controversial AFSPA. She is on forcible nose feeding.

Sharmila began a hunger strike in November 2000, following the killing of 10 civilians by security forces. She was arrested by the Manipur government in 2000 under section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, which prohibits an attempt to commit suicide.