Irom Sharmila set to marry British citizen

Looking ahead: Activist Irom Sharmila with her British partner Desmond Coutinho at the sub-registrar’s office in Kodaikanal on Wednesday.  

Human rights activist Irom Sharmila submitted papers for her marriage with her long-time partner Desmond Coutinho at the sub-registrar’s office in Kodaikanal here on Wednesday morning.

Ms. Irom and Mr. Coutinho (who is a British citizen) spent two hours at the office completing the formalities to register their marriage.

However, Sub-Registrar Rajesh said that he could not grant permission for their marriage immediately as per the Hindu Marriage Act. As the marriage was inter-religious, they would need to register it under the Special Marriage Act, which requires a 30-day notice period.

Sources said that the police had asked the registrar office to inform them before Ms. Irom is given a registration date. The police and Central agencies, the source said, are keeping a close watch on her movements.

Ms. Irom is known internationally for her 16-year hunger strike which she ended in August 2016. She had vowed not to eat, drink, comb her hair or look in a mirror until the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) was repealed. She had been arrested and force-fed through a tube to prevent her ending her life, a crime under Indian law. Over the 16 years, she was repeatedly released and then re-arrested.

She formed a political party, the People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance, and herself contested the Manipur elections. After she lost, getting just 90 votes, she had moved to Kodaikanal to live with her partner.

Ms. Irom said that after marriage, she wished to lead a peaceful life as an ordinary woman in Kodaikanal. She did not, though, rule out her participation in struggles for women’s rights in the future.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 2:02:44 PM |

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