Madurai

Irom Sharmila says witnesses for her upcoming marriage registration were threatened

Activist Irom Sharmila with her British partner Desmond Coutinho at the Sub-Registrar’s office in Kodaikanal. File photo  

Following a slew of petitions opposing her marriage proposal to a British national, social activist Irom Sharmila on Wednesday said that three witnesses for the inter-religious marriage have been threatened.

“I don’t know why they are scared about us getting married. It is a private life of two persons,” Ms Sharmila said while addressing the media here on the sidelines of a seminar on freedom of expression in support of documentary film producer Divya Bharati, who faced threats for Kakkoos, a documentary on the plight of manual scavenging.

“Whether we are getting married or not, we will live together in the house in Kodaikanal,” Ms Sharmila said. “I don’t know what kind of threat a marriage of two persons could pose to the beautiful State.”

Her marriage to British national Desmond Coutinho is scheduled for August 16. They have filed papers for their marriage with the Sub-Registrar’s office in Kodaikanal, where she moved to recently.

Ms. Sharmila, 45, popularly known as Iron Lady, said that she would not be cowed down by threats. “We are all mortals. I am not bothered by life and death. I will sacrifice my life for the sake of humanity,” she said.

She said that all kinds of atrocities, like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act against which she fought against in Manipur, had been addressed. “However, upon coming to Tamil Nadu, I found that the system of slavery on caste lines was prevalent,” she said.

The human rights activist said that both the Government of India and Tamil Nadu Government were shamed by Kakkoos as it reflected the failure of the Governments in prohibiting employment of manual scavenging and the rehabilitation of such workers.

The promise made by Dr. Ambedkar to abolish untouchability could be fulfilled only when manual scavenging is totally prohibited and those workers are rehabilitated.

She vouched to support Ms Bharathi and would also invite her to stand beside her on her wedding day.

“The Government wanted to ban the film and arrest the director on trumped-up charges. When that failed to break her spirit, they used stooges to threaten her with rape and murder,” Ms Sharmila said.

“I am now writing a poem on Kakkoos.”

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 12:11:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/irom-sharmila-says-witnesses-for-her-upcoming-marriage-registration-were-threatened/article19458397.ece

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