The fast launched by civil rights activist Irom Sharmila, demanding repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, completed the 12th year on Monday. She began the protest on November 4, 2000.

Ms. Sharmila, who has been voicing her opposition to fake encounters, decided to begin the protest after the killing of 10 persons, including a woman, on November 2, 2000 at Mallom near Imphal by Assam Rifles personnel.

She has been detained for observing the fast. The law under which Ms. Sharmila has been detained permits the authorities to imprison her for one year at one go. At the end of each year the ritual continues: she is released only to be rearrested.

The South Korean government and many organisations have conferred awards on her. But she refused to receive them.

Despite appeals from the Prime Minister and other leaders, she has been continuing the agitation.