Monday, July 26, 2010

100-day countdown to Sharmila 'fasting decade' begins

Exactly 100 days from completing 10 years of fasting, Irom Sharmila Chanu has renewed her demand for the repeal of the contentious Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) of 1958. Sharmila, 40, is the face of anti-AFSPA protest in the Northeast. She began her hunger strike on 2 November 2000 after Assam Rifles personnel gunned down 10 civilians in an "encounter" at Malom on the outskirts of Manipur capital Imphal. "I will fast for another 10 years if this draconian Act is not lifted from Manipur," said Sharmila after the Imphal-based Just Peace Foundation kicked off its "100-day countdown" campaign on Sunday. Sharmila is set to complete her 10 years of fast-unto-death agitation on November 1. Ever since she began her fast, Sharmila has been in and out of a security ward in Imphal's Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital. Arrested occasionally on charges of attempting to commit suicide, she is being nose-fed with liquid diet. Among those who launched the countdown were Babloo Loitangbam of Human Rights Alert and noted Manipuri filmmaker Aribam Syham Sharma.


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