Two days after human rights activist Irom Sharmila was released by a Manipur district court, police arrested her again on Friday, charging her with attempting to commit suicide.
Around 30 women police constables dragged Sharmila, who has been on hunger strike for the past 14 years for the repeal of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), from a makeshift shed outside a government-run hospital, where she had camped after her release on Wednesday to continue fasting.
Known as the Iron lady of Manipur, Sharmila went on a hunger strike in November 2000 after security forces allegedly gunned down 10 innocent civilians at Malom near Imphal. Police arrested her and kept her in a special ward of a hospital, where they force-fed her.
Watch: Irom Sharmila re-arrested on charges of attempt to suicide
A district sessions judge released Sharmila on Wednesday, saying the prosecution had failed to establish the charge of attempting to commit suicide they had brought against her.
The judge, however, said the state could continue feeding her through the nose, if she decided to continue her fast.
“I am not trying to commit suicide, and the court believes so,” Sharmila said before being taken away. “I will continue to fast till my demand (withdrawal of AFSPA) is met.”
AFSPA, which covers areas of the northeast and Kashmir, gives virtual immunity to security forces to raid, arrest and kill people, and is seen as a cover for human rights abuses by critics.
Authorities said they were forced to arrest Sharmila as she refused food and medication. Additional director general of police Santosh Macherla said Sharmila had been shifted to a hospital for medical aid and “further legal proceeding is on”.
Sharmila’s lawyer Khaidem Mani said they were exploring legal options.