Irom Sharmila , an Indian activist ate for the first time in 16 years. Honey was the only thing that could allure her to break her fast. Licking honey from her hand she broke her fast of 16 years.
Beginning of the Protest
The Iron Lady of Manipur had begun her fast in November 2000. She had begun her protest after the killing of 10 people in her home state by a government-run paramilitary group. Sharmila was protesting against the repressive Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which grants the military immunity from a judicial inquiry, to be repealed.
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She had been repeatedly arrested and released on the charge of attempted suicide. For the last 16 years,she was being force fed by through a surgical nasal tube, in a hospital.
The Fast Came to an End with a lick of Honey
The announcement of the Iron Lady, that she would break her fast and again start eating, made many well-fed people uncomfortable.
“I will never forget this moment,” said Sharmila, whose solo protest had become a symbol of Manipur’s resistance against state violence.
Choice of being a Martyr Vs Chief Minister
At the beginning,she had vowed not to eat until the repeal of the Arms Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA),which protected the military from judicial scrutiny. Years of struggle has now led her to apply a new method. On Tuesday she reported to the journalist that she wanted to remove Manipur’s present Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, from his position. She has accused him of spreading insurgency and corruption.
“I’ve been the real embodiment of revolution,” she said. “I want to be chief minister now. I know nothing about politics and academia. My education is very, very low. Everything I have I will use for the positive, for society.”
Sadly Sharmila did not get the support of all her followers on her decision of breaking the fast before her goal was reached. Her decision to become a political figure is not being approved by many people of her state.
Political parties have already started approaching her, but she is not very sure about which party to join , or will she function as an independent candidate.
She is above politics,” said Somorendra. “She has already achieved so much in the last 16 years. Military violence has gone down because of her and the awareness she has raised. For 16 years, people can’t object to anything she has stood for. If she joins politics, the opposition will come.”
A National Icon or a homeless social reject?
Till two days ago the person who was an icon , has now been reduced to a homeless social reject. Her decision of ending her fast and becoming a part of the political body has made many of her followers against her. Her Martyrdom has now become more important for them than the cause of her sacrifice. If people really wish to empower her, the cause and even themselves, they will vote for her. If she loses then it will also be the loss of the people of Manipur.
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