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Manipur court orders release of Irom Sharmila

Members of the North East Students’ Organization (NESO) with their mouths covered by black clothes staging a sit-in demonstration expressing solidarity with Irom Sharmila Chanu in Guwahati on April 25, 2011. A file photo: Ritu Raj Konwar.

Members of the North East Students’ Organization (NESO) with their mouths covered by black clothes staging a sit-in demonstration expressing solidarity with Irom Sharmila Chanu in Guwahati on April 25, 2011. A file photo: Ritu Raj Konwar.  

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A. Guneswor Sharma, the District and Sessions court, Manipur East judge on Tuesday ordered release of Irom Sharmila who has been on fast unto death since November 4, 2000 demanding repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958. Disclosing this reporters, Khaidem Mani, advocate for Sharmila said that the judge said that the prosecutiion could not prove that Ms. Sharmila had tried to commit suicide.

The charge against Ms. Sharmila is that she tried to commit suicide and as such she was detained under section 309 of IPC. Under this Act she can be detained for a period of one year after which she is released ritually every year.

However, A. Noutuneswori, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal East passed an order on June 4, 2014 directing framing of chargesheet against Ms. Sharmila. However, under instructions from her, Khaidem Mani went to the court of District and Session Court, Imphal East challenging the order of Judge Noutnuneswori. During the review petition, the court heard both sides and the court ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove that Ms. Sharmila had tried to commit suicide.

Accordingly, he ordered the chief judicial magistrate, Imphal east to release Ms. Sharmila. Sources said that it will take about three days to executive the order as the court process is time taking. Meanwhile, indications are that the government is thinking of going to the Manipur High Court against the ruling of the District and Sessions court.

However, a court ruling on her release will make no difference to Ms. Sharmila. She has been continuing her fast even after being released by the court at the end of each year. Police had to rearrest her within a short time. Instead of going home, she goes to the shack where her supporters assemble. She continues her fast while the women supporters make a protecitve concentric circle around her.

Activist Sharmila was perturbed by the massacring of innocent bystanders by the security personnel long after the insurgents had escaped. Her last straw was the massacring of ten persons including an elderly woman at Mallom near Imphal on November 2, 2000 by the frenzied personnel of 8 Assam Rifles. The provocation was that some insurgents had exploded a home made bomb. Though no personnel were wounded, the three vehicles returned and massacred the 10 persons in full public view. Nobody has been booked for this crime.

Once, she slipped to Delhi to continue the fast. She is facing a charge of trying to commit suicide and trial is going on in the Patiala House court. Some activists told The Hindu that even though the high court upholds the District and Sessions court order, Ms. Sharmila will continue her fast. She has made it known that she will continue the campaign till the AFSPA is repealed.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 1:02:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/court-orders-release-of-irom-sharmila/article6331793.ece

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