A Delhi court on Wednesday acquitted Manipuri rights activist Irom Sharmila in a case of attempt to suicide registered against her in 2006 for undertaking a fast-unto-death protest at the Jantar Mantar to end the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in Manipur.
Sharmila (42) has been on a fast for around 16 years demanding the repeal of AFSPA, which gives the armed forces special powers in the ‘disturbed areas’ of Manipur.
Sharmila was put on trial after she refused to plead guilty for the offence of attempting to commit suicide (section 309 IPC) during her two-day protest in 2006.
Sharmila had on Tuesday told the court that she was ready to end her fast if the AFSPA was repealed in the state. Sharmila said her continuous fast was “not a crime” as it was meant to achieve the goal of repealing AFSPA.
Sharmila has been on an indefinite fast since November 2, 2000. She is fed through a nasal tube. Popularly known as the “Iron Lady”, Sharmila says her protest was non-violent.
Metropolitan magistrate Harvinder Singh let off Sharmila saying no offence is made out, advocate VK Ohri, who appeared for Sharmila, told HT.
Currently, AFSPA is applicable to Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast states except Tripura, which revoked it in 2015 citing a decline in insurgency.