| Rights crusader Irom Sharmila at Tulihal Airport in Imphal on Sunday. Picture by UB Photos |
Imphal, March 3: Jail authorities of Manipur today took rights crusader Irom Sharmila to New Delhi for her appearance in a court tomorrow.
Sharmila has been summoned by the metropolitan magistrate no. 6, Patiala House court complex, in connection with her hunger strike in New Delhi seven years ago demanding repeal of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
Sharmila had left Imphal on October 4, 2006, to continue her hunger strike in New Delhi to draw the attention of the authorities and also the international community on her demand for repeal of the act.
Sharmila went to the national capital after she was released from jail on October 3, 2006, on completion of one year of her offence — “attempt to commit suicide”.
She continued her hunger strike for five months in New Delhi and returned to Imphal on March 8, 2007.
On her arrival, police took her into custody and the court sent her to jail on the same charges of attempting to commit suicide.
Though she was admitted in a hospital during her campaign in the national capital, she was officially under judicial custody. Therefore, the court has summoned her tomorrow.
“I will not change my stand until the act is repealed. I don’t know much about my appearance in the court as government authorities haven’t informed me about the details of my trip to New Delhi,” she told reporters at Imphal airport, before boarding an Indian Airlines flight.
Sharmila said since there was no government authority to listen to her demand she did not know to whom she could turn. “However, I will not end my fast until the act is repealed,” she reiterated.
A doctor, two nurses, a jail warden, one police officer and two women police personnel are accompanying Sharmila to New Delhi. Her supporters turned up at Tulihal airport and gave her blessings.
Sharmila began her hunger strike in November 2000 after troops of the Assam Rifles shot dead 10 civilians at a bus stand in Imphal West in retaliation to a militant attack.
Even when chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh had requested her to call off her fast after withdrawing the act from the Imphal municipal limits in August 2004, Sharmila refused and said the entire state should be free from the act.
Sharmila is surviving on nasal feeding and has been confined to the security ward of Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences here.