Manipuri rights activist Irom Sharmila told a Delhi court that she was ready to end her fast if the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (Afspa) was repealed and expressed her desire to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the issue.
Sharmila, 42, who has been fasting for around 16 years in Manipur demanding the repeal of Afspa, said in the court on Tuesday that she had expressed her desire to meet the Prime Minister long time ago, but he has not met her so far.
Sharmila, who is fed through a nasal tube, said this during final arguments in a case in which she is facing trial for allegedly trying to commit suicide while undertaking fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar on October 4, 2006.
Advancing final arguments, the prosecutor contended that Sharmila had the intention to kill herself and the offence of trying to commit suicide was clearly made out against her.
Metropolitan magistrate Harvinder Singh fixed the matter for tomorrow to hear arguments on behalf of Sharmila’s counsel V K Ohri.
During the hearing, the activist said she loved her life and was using her fast as a weapon to achieve her goal of repealing Afspa as it would have “more impact” and added that this was “not a crime”.
“Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, had resorted to fasts while making certain demands,” she said while justifying her fast.
“I am fed up by trials on the same charge again and again,” she added.
Sharmila also said, “Since there is no meaning of true democracy in the country, human rights activists should join hands. The matter should be brought to the attention of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations.”
Sharmila had earlier told the court that she was very much eager to eat if she got the assurance that the “draconian” law will be revoked.
Widespread discrimination was being done with the people from Northeast, she had alleged, adding she never intended to commit suicide and it was just a protest against Afspa.
The court had on March 4, 2013, put her on trial after she had refused to plead guilty to the charge of attempting to commit suicide (Section 309 of IPC).
If convicted, Sharmila, who is out on bail in this case, faces a maximum jail term of one year.
Known as the ‘Iron Lady’, Sharmila had earlier told the court that her protest was non-violent.