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Sharmila resumes fast after release, is arrested again

Imphal, Aug 22 (PTI): Police on Friday re-arrested social activist Irom Chanu Sharmila on charges of attempting suicide from a makeshift shelter outside a hospital here when she resumed her fast after being released from jail on Wednesday.

”We have re-arrested her this morning and will produce her in the CJM court later in the day on charges of attempt to commit suicide (Section 309 of IPC),” Manipur ADG (Intelligence) Santosh Macherla told PTI

Sharmila, 42, was taken for a medical check-up after she declined to eat or drink, sources said. Sharmila had been on fast for the past 14 years, but was being force-fed through her nose while under arrest for attempting suicide.

On Wednesday, a local court ordered her release after it said it found no evidence to support charges that she was trying to commit suicide.

After this, Sharmila, supported by hundreds of women and social workers, had walked out of the government hospital room that had been turned into a jail for her.

Soon afterwards, she began her fast at a place near the hospital.

”I will continue to fast till my demand (withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act) is met. The order of the sessions court that I am not attempting to commit suicide (by launching fast to remove the controversial Act) is welcome,” she had said.

A former journalist and social activist, Sharmila had launched her fast unto death on November 2000 after the paramilitary Assam Rifles killed 10 persons at Malom area here in an alleged encounter with insurgents.

She has been in jail for the past many years and was released from time to time and rearrested again and again under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code for attempting to commit suicide.

Manipur Home Minister Gaikhangam said the government was all prepared to protect and look after the health of the social activist.

Even after her release from detention, Sharmila had decided to keep her vow of neither entering her house nor meeting her mother till the government repeals AFSPA.