Interacting with reporters, she said: "I am doing this for all people, especially those from the AFSPA-affected States."
Mobbed by journalists and activists, many of whom asked for and got autographs from her, Irom Chanu Sharmila had a clear message for the Union government: she was against a government which “uses violence as a means to govern.”
Interacting with reporters, she said: “I am doing this for all people, especially those from the AFSPA-affected States. But we are the citizens of a democratic country and so my demand is for the rights of democratic citizens who need justice. We need peace, not violence. Our democratic leaders should hear my non-violent protest.”
A reporter then asked: “You started this non-violent protest 12 years ago when you were younger and stronger. Do you feel you have the capacity to continue with it? Do you want to continue this protest because the government does not seem to be listening to you?”
She replied: “Revolution will take time. I am also a human being who wants peace and justice. I am against a government which uses violence as a means to govern.”
To a question on how the government, and past and present Union Home Ministers, have said that the onus lay in a change of ground realities and depended on the Army saying that AFSPA could be relaxed, which it has been dead against, Ms. Sharmila said: “The Government and the Army are colluding to cheat the people.”
Question from a reporter: “You have your fiancé with you today and it’s very difficult for you to meet him. Have you requested the government that you should be allowed to meet him and the other family members because you are also a woman who wants to lead a normal life?”
Ms. Sharmila replied: “They are so scared to give me the fundamental rights of a human being. I am also a social being. What I just want from them is to see me as an innocent woman who loves civilisation and is a rational being.”
Another reporter asked her if she had faith in the legal system of the country and thought that the government would provide her justice. She said: “I have faith in God. God will also guide those very wrongdoers. I will also remind them of their real responsibilities as leaders of society.”
A reporter, referring to the Supreme Court-appointed committee headed by Justice N. Santosh Hegde that is conducting hearings on extra-judicial killings in Imphal, asked her if she was happy that something was happening on that front in Manipur.
“The government will remain adamant for the time being. They are not behaving like a leadership which should work for the betterment of the people and society. The Jeevan Reddy Committee has already recommended the repealing of this draconian law,” Ms. Sharmila said.
“What is your last message for the Indian government as you leave this court?” a reporter asked. “I am just a simple woman who wants to follow the non-violent principle of Gandhiji, the father of the nation. Just treat us also like him and don’t discriminate. As a leadership, don’t be biased against human beings.”
And she was whisked out of the court building into a waiting car even as some supporters stopped her for autographs while AFSPA protesters, prevented from entering the court complex, screamed slogans asking her not to give up.