Civil Rights Activist Irom Sharmila had ended her fast on Tuesday after 16 years. Now, she has been admitted to the special ward of JNIMS Hospital in Imphal, not as a prisoner but as a patient this time. Iron Sharmila had undertaken her 16 years of fast against the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA).
On Tuesday, she was taken to the Iskcon Temple after she was discharged from the hospital. The locals did not even welcome her as they got upset by her decision to break the fast. She was even escorted by the Imphal City police station once when she reached back to the same ward room of JNIMS hospital.
“I will go back to my world,” she said, as she returned to the hospital Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Sharmila was surrounded by human rights activists and friends who came to support her and give her company. Though she was still guarded by the police, the restriction on her meeting people was relaxed to an extent. A stream of journalists, both from national and international media, flooded the hospital complex.
“I’m very disappointed,” Sharmila said on “rejection” by her own people.
“At that moment, I felt the best thing for them would have been beating me to death. What is the difference between being beaten to death or dying from fasting. Not much,” she said. “They want me to remain a martyr forever. But I can’t always be a martyr.” Irom added.
Hospital authorities said, “She can stay there for up to a month, But Sharmila refused to stay in the hospital.” Sharmila said that she will move out either on Thursday or Wednesday evening itself.
“We have our office at Thangal Bazar which can be easily converted to living quarters for Sharmila. She can stay there for however long she wants,” said Dr Y Mohen Singh, secretary, Red Cross-Imphal.
“There is nothing wrong with her stomach — only her esophagus has been non-operational for years. So she slowly needs to break that in,” said Medical Superintendent of JNIMS, Dr L Ranbir Singh. He further added that, “If there is any problem in her eating, then it will psychological one.”
“With my extraordinary bravery, I will get through this. I’m feeling positive,” she said.
“We will remove Sharmila’s name from all our posters (from) all our campaigns. She has nothing to do with us any longer. We feel disappointed and let down by her,’’ said 72-year-old L Madhu Laima from Sagolband.
Laima said, “Yesterday was the saddest day of my life. She has not been listening to us. She has not been consulting us on any of her decisions…. We were all fighting against AFSPA. The people did not allow her to stay because they must have felt similarly betrayed by her, although I am sad that she was turned away.”