Activist Irom Sharmila Chanu, who has been on fast for more than 12 years demanding repeal of the ’draconian’ Armed Forces Special Powers Act from Manipur, was re-arrested by state Police, officials said today.

Sharmila, who was released on Tuesday by the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Imphal East, was re-arrested by the police at around 7 PM last evening and produced before the court which remanded her to judicial custody till March 26.

The ‘Iron Lady’ celebrates her 40th birthday today.

She has been released, freed and re-arrested from time to time for the past 12 years on charges of attempt to commit suicide, the maximum punishment for which can extend only up to one year.

Immediately after her release on Tuesday she went to ’Sharmila Kanba Lup Shanglen’ (Save Sharmila office) near the Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital to continue her fast.

She refused to be checked by Police and Government doctors yesterday morning, sources said, adding that since her condition was bad, she was re-arrested again last evening and sent to security ward of the hospital which has been converted into a jail for her and where she was fed through nose.

Sharmila began her fast unto death, demanding repeal of the AFSPA, after ten civilians were killed by Assam Rifles personnel in an alleged encounter at Malom area near Imphal Airport in November 2000 and has been continuing her fast since then to press her demand.

Her elder brother and spokesman Irom Singhajit told reporters yesterday that the Government should ‘on trial basis’ withdraw the AFSPA, imposed since 1980, from the state and if the situation worsened due to activities of the insurgents, it could be re-imposed.

Various social organisations alleged that hundreds of innocents civilians have so far been killed by security forces in the name of tracking down insurgents in the state but they could not be tried in the court of law easily because of the provisions of the AFSPA.

(This article was published on March 14, 2013)
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