New Delhi, Dec. 4: Manipuri activist Irom Sharmila has begun what her brother insists is the “last leg” of her marathon hungerstrike campaign against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
Hospitalised under police custody in New Delhi, Sharmila “isolated” herself from her family members and refused to be fed liquids through a nasal pipe on hearing that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had assured Manipur of only amendments to the legislation.
Singh, who visited Imphal for two hours on Saturday, said he would ensure that the legislation is made “more humane”.
For Sharmila, nothing short of a promise to repeal the “draconian” act will do. “She has refused to meet me or anyone else and is determined to make the government act,” the activist’s elder brother, Singhajit Singh, said.
Anxious about his sister’s health, Singhajit has been pacing up and down the corridor leading to Sharmila’s ward at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences since yesterday. A nasal drip is the only thing that has kept the activist alive for the past six years.
Sharmila’s status in police custody remains questionable as Parliament Street police station has registered a case against her but not shown it as an arrest, sources said. Two policewomen keep watch on her in hospital and two more stand guard outside her room in the new private ward.
A senior police officer said she was being given “protection” because of a “threat perception”.
Those rallying around Sharmila have accused the Prime Minister of making a statement smacking of double standards.
Singh’s statement meant that the government would not go by the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee’s recommendation to repeal the legislation.
The European Manipuri Association will stage a demonstration against the act in London on December 10, sources said.
Students from Manipur have planned a rally in New Delhi on the same day.