All eyes on Irom Sharmila

Her decision to end her fast has not found favour with activists and insurgents.

August 08, 2016 03:45 am | Updated December 04, 2021 10:54 pm IST - IMPHAL

Irom Sharmila. File photo

Irom Sharmila. File photo

On Tuesday, all eyes will be on Irom Sharmila Chanu when she appears in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West.

On July 26, Ms. Sharmila had announced that she planned to end her 16-year-fast for the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in Manipur on August 9 and contest Assembly elections as an Independent candidate.

However, despite her heroic struggle and repeated arrests, her decision has not gone down well among activists and insurgents. Nganbi, an activist of a women’s group that had once backed her, is angry at what she sees as a betrayal.

‘Time not ripe’

Namoijam Oken and Khetri Laba, leaders of the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) a Meitei insurgent outfit, and the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) an ultra-leftist group, addressed Ms. Sharmila as “elder sister” and urged her not to end the fast.

In their open letter to her, released to the media, they said the time was not ripe and warned that some former insurgents, who were elected to the Manipur Assembly, had been assassinated.

Ms. Sharmila had announced that she would marry and join electoral politics.

Though she did not name the person she intended to marry, it is in all likelihood Desmond Coutinho, a Goa-born citizen of the U.K.

Mainstream welcome

N. Biren, Congress spokesperson, and BJP leader N. Luwang however, welcomed her decision to join politics. Bhabananda, State BJP president, however, said it was too early to say whether she would be given a ticket.

Babloo Loitongbam, a human rights activist also welcomed her decision.

On Sunday, in a press statement, Acoam Lup, the apex body of civil organisations, said Ms. Sharmila might have made the announcement to gauge public sentiment.

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