A Delhi court on Thursday issued production warrant against rights activist Irom Sharmila after she failed to turn up in a case lodged against her for allegedly attempting suicide during her two days fast-unto-death protest in October 2006 in New Delhi.
A production warrant is an order issued by a court, directing prosecuting agencies to produce a person before the court in connection with proceedings pending against her.
Metropolitan magistrate Akash Jain issued the production warrant for January 30, 2014 and fixed the date for recording of prosecution evidence in the case.
Sharmila has been on an indefinite fast since November 2, 2000, demanding the lifting of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) in her home state, Manipur.
The Act gives extraordinary powers to armed forces in conflict zones whose residents consider it draconian.
The 40-year-old Sharmila was put on trial in New Delhi after she refused to plead guilty for the offence of attempting to commit suicide (section 309 IPC). She is out on bail. If convicted, she faces a maximum jail term of one year.
Popularly known as the "Iron Lady", Sharmila had earlier said her protest was non-violent. She has been on fast since 2000 and is fed through a nasal tube.
She had rejected the charge that she had attempted suicide in 2006 and had told the court, "I do not want to commit suicide. Mine is only a non-violent protest. It is my demand to live as a human being. I love life. I do not want to take my life but I want justice and peace."
Reacting sharply to the court’s order, rights advocacy group, Amnesty International India, said Sharmila’s hunger strike was different from self-starvation as a way to commit suicide.
“In February 2012, the Supreme Court of India also observed in the Ram Lila Maidan incident case that a hunger strike is a form of protest which has been accepted, both historically and legally in our constitutional jurisprudence,” it said.