After being on fast for nearly 16 years in protest against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, Irom Sharmila is ending her hunger strike today.
As it happened:
4:42 pm: She tastes honey to symbolically end the fast.
4:41 pm: I want to contest elections against Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, says the human rights activist. When asked if she will join a political party, she says parties have approached her but 'all I need is 20 Independents.'
4:40 pm: We need non-violence, without draconian law the State can be governed, says Sharmila. She once agains appeals the prime minister to repeal the AFSPA.
4:35 pm: When questioned if she took the decision to end fast so that she can 'settle down', Sharmila says love is personal matter and natural.
4:20 pm: I want to join politics as I've been called the Iron lady of Manipur & I want to live upto that name, she says.
4:18 pm: From today onwards I have ended my fast, says Irom Sharmila in Imphal
4:15 pm: Irom Sharmila ends her fast after being on fast for the last 16 years demanding repeal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
2:15 pm: CJM grants bail to Sharmila. She furnishes bond of Rs. 10,000.
2.03 pm: "I have been fasting for 16 years and not got anything from it. I want to try different agitation now — one that will see me contest against the Chief Minister of the State," says Irom Sharmila.
1.40 pm: The next hearing of the case is on August 23.
1.30 pm: Irom Sharmila returns to judicial custody.
1.00 pm: Cross examination of police officer by defence counsel starts.
12.45 pm: Two of her supporters, elderly women, sit next to her to comfort her.
12.35 pm: Sharmila looks restive, as the witnesses get examined in court.
12.20 pm: Sharmila asks the court to shorten the procedure, says "I don't want your legal system to detain me wrongly."
12. 15 pm: "Is there a possibility that a person can survive without taking food for 15 years," prosecutor asks the witnesses.
12:00 noon: Witnesses are being examined now.
11:50 am: The judge wishes her best of luck on her political aspirations. She intends to contest in Manipur polls as an independent candidate.
11:40 am: So what 'crime' did she commit? Her hunger strike is the crime. She has been repeatedly arrested by the Manipur police several times in 16 years on charges of "attempt to commit suicide".
11:35 am: Irom Sharmila is arguing for herself. She wants the charges against her to be dropped but the Judge says only if she accepts she is guilty. But she refuses saying she has not done anything wrong.
11:30 am: Legal proceedings are underway. Meanwhile, here is a video narration of her 16 year struggle.
11:19 am: The Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West, agrees to free her if she submits a bond.
11:15 am: Irom Sharmila reaches court premises. Proceedings begin. She is arguing for herself.
10:40 am: She is on her way to appear before the court, where she is likely to announce her decision. In that case, the court is likely to release her from judicial custody.
10:30 am: Irom Sharmila leaves from Imphal hospital where she has been lodged as a prisoner for 16 years.