Activist Irom Sharmila Chanu, who was on Monday charged with attempting suicide for her fast unto death here in 2006 while demanding repeal of controversial AFSPA, said she is following Mahatma Gandhi's principle of non-violence and should not be "discriminated" against.
Chanu, while speaking to mediapersons outside the court room at Patiala House complex, said she and other residents of states affected by Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) need "peace" and "not violence" and the democratic leaders should hear her "non-violent protest".
She expressed her desire "to live a normal life" and asked why the government was "scared of giving her fundamental rights of a human being".
"I am just a simple woman who wants to follow the non-violent principle of Gandhiji, the father of the nation. Just treat us also like him and do not discriminate. As a leadership, don't be biased against a human being," the 40-year-old Manipuri activist, whose counsel had sought court's permission to talk to media, said.
Irom Sharmila, who has been on a fast for 12 years demanding the repeal of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), arrives at the airport in New Delhi. (AFP Photo)
Chanu was flown in to Delhi from Manipur last evening to appear before a court here which today framed charges under section 309 (attempting to commit suicide) of the IPC against her after she refused to plead guilty, saying that hers was a non-violent protest.
She told reporters that she has been protesting for past nearly 12 years for the society and is demanding the rights of a democratic citizen.
"I am doing this for the society and other AFSPA affected states but we are the citizens of a democratic country and so my demand is for rights of a democratic citizen who needs justice. We need peace, not violence. Our democratic leaders should hear my non-violent protest," she said.
Chanu, who is in judicial custody and is being fed through a tube, added that Justice (retd) BP Jeevan Reddy Committee, set up to review the AFSPA, has also recommended repealing of this "draconian law".
She also accused the government and the Army of "colluding for cheating" people. Chanu had launched her fast unto death in 2000 after 10 civilians were killed by Assam Rifles personnel at Malom area near Imphal airport.
She had earlier said that she was confident that the government will listen to her and concede to her demand to revoke AFSPA.
Asked if she was satisfied with the developments on the issue of extra judicial killings in Manipur on which Justice Santosh Hegde is conducting hearing even as the apex court has formed a probe committee, she said the government is not behaving "as a leadership which should work for society's betterment".
"The government will remain adamant for the time being because they are not realising. They are not behaving as a leadership which should work for the betterment of the people and the society," she said.
On being asked whether she wished to continue her protest "because the government does not seem to be listening", she said "revolution will take time and it depends on the will of people.
Irom Sharmila after appearing in the Patiala House court in Delhi under IPC 309 (attempt to commit suicide) for fasting at Jantar Mantar in 2006. (PTI Photo)
"I am also a human being who wants peace and justice. I am against the government which uses violence as a means to govern," she said, adding that she will also remind them of their "real responsibilities as leadership".
Expressing her desire to live a normal life, Chanu said, she is also a social being and claimed the government was "scared of giving her fundamental rights of a human being.
"What I just want from them (government) is to see me as an innocent woman who loves civilisation and is a rational being...," she said.