Irom Sharmila To End Fast After 16 Years on August 9, Wants To Contest Elections


New Delhi: Irom Sharmila, the iconic activist whose life was defined by a fast she began 16 years ago in protest against army atrocities, has decided to move on. She will call off her fast on August 9, say her aides, as she wants to marry and fight elections.

Sharmila told mediapersons outside the Imphal Court on Tuesday that she wanted to contest elections after breaking her fast. Sources close to her said she would contest as an independent. The 42-year-old Irom has been on a hunger strike since November 2000, demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

Irom began her hunger strike to protest against the death of 10 Manipuris who were shot dead by the Assam Rifles in Imphal. Irom was arrested and released from jail several times under Section 309 for attempted suicide. 

She had so far rejected allegations that she was trying to commit suicide, and maintained that she is on hunger strike demanding repeal of AFSPA. Irom Sharmila had earlier rejected Aam Aadmi Party's offer to contest Lok Sabha elections under its banner from the inner Manipur Lok Sabha seat in 2014. Despite repeated calls to withdraw the AFSPA from UN experts as well as national and international groups, the Act continues to be enforced.

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