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Imphal CJM court to deliver verdict on June 4
Sharmila hearing ends

Imphal, May 24: The court of the chief judicial magistrate, Imphal East, will give its verdict on June 4 on charges levelled against human rights activist Irom Sharmila. She has been charged with attempting to commit suicide under Section 309 of the IPC.

Judge A. Noutuneshwari today concluded the hearing and said the verdict would be announced on June 4. The hearing on the charge began on May 13.

“The hearing on the charge of attempting to commit suicide by Sharmila concluded today. The judge reserved his judgment and will announce the verdict on June 4,” Sharmila’s lawyer Khaidem Mani Singh said.

If the court upholds the charge of attempt to commit suicide, the trial of the hunger striker will follow. If the judge rules that there is no foundation to the charge, Sharmila will be freed, legal experts said.

Concluding his argument, Mani Singh told the court that Sharmila was not trying to commit suicide. She was only using non-violence as a means to press for her demand to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. As such she should be freed, the counsel argued.

Sharmila also reiterated that she was not trying to commit suicide. She began her hunger strike on November 5, 2000 demanding repeal of the army act, after Assam Rifles troops shot dead 10 civilians at Malom, near Imphal airport, in retaliation to a militant attack.

Though she has been charged under Section 309 IPC in the FIRs, this is for the first time that police have submitted the chargesheet to the court. Under this section, the offence is punishable with one year's jail term.

The court ordered her release every time she completed one year in jail after her arrest. Sharmila was rearrested each time a day after her release as she continued her hunger strike after coming out of jail.

Sharmila will be appearing before the Patiala House court on Wednesday in connection with a case against her for holding a hunger strike in New Delhi in 2006.


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