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Sharmila’s ‘freedom’ lasts 2 days
- Rights activist re-arrested

Imphal, March 10: Manipur human rights crusader Irom Sharmila was re-arrested after she continued her hunger strike and sent back to jail, 48 hours after her release.

A police team, including female personnel, arrived in the Porompat locality here where she was continuing her fast under a tent and took her away at 5.30pm today.

The police produced her before a duty magistrate, who remanded her in judicial custody on the same charge of attempting to commit suicide.

Sharmila was taken back to the security ward of Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital at Porompat in Imphal East later in the evening. The rights crusader was freed in the afternoon of March 8 at the end of her yearlong jail term.

“Please do not take me back to jail. Please allow me to die here or do something to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act,” Sharmila told the police team.

Sharmila’s health had deteriorated and she could not speak throughout the day. She had been fasting for four days after refusing to be nasal fed since March 6 while in jail.

“She is very weak and her health is deteriorating,” K. Taruni, convenor of Save Sharmila Campaign said, prior to Sharmila’s arrest.

Though she did not want to be re-arrested, Sharmila was too weak to resist. Attempts by her supporters to resist the arrest proved futile.

A group of rights defenders from the northeastern states, who had gathered here to show solidarity with Sharmila, witnessed the arrest. The activists are here to take part in the concluding function of “From Gandhi to Sharmila Campaign”, slated for March 14, Sharmila’s birthday. The campaign was launched to gather support for Sharmila by Imphal-based Just Peace Foundation on January 30.

Led by Sharmila, the defenders from Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh submitted a joint memorandum to chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh this morning demanding that the government move a resolution in the ongoing Assembly session urging Parliament to repeal the act.

“We the people in the Northeast are united on the issue. We will continue to stand by Sharmila and fight till the act is repealed,” M. Kikon, a rights activist from Kohima, said.

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