Civil rights activist Irom Sharmila, on a fast unto death for more than nine years demanding repeal of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958 from Manipur, was released late last night but her fast continued.
Officials said Sharmila, put at the jail-converted J N Hospital ward where she was nose-fed, was freed at around 7.30 pm yesterday. She had been taken to the hospital a few years back from jail.
Immediately after release on completion of jail term, Sharmila was taken to Porompat area where women activists, under the 'Save Sharmila Kanba Lup' (Save Sharmila Committee), had been on an indefinite relay hunger strike for the past one year to press the government fulfill her demand, a spokesperson of the committee said.
Sharmila continued her fast at the spot, the spokesperson said.
She had been similarly released on completion of jail term in past years, but then again she had to be re-arrested after two-three days for refusal to withdraw her fast and as her condition worsened in the absence of hospital back up.
Sharmila began her fast on November 2, 2000 after ten persons were killed in firing by Assam Rifles at Imphal airport area while demanding withdrawal of the AFSPA. The protestors alleged that under this Act, human rights violation was taking place in Manipur for years.