Turned Down Twice By Residents, Irom Sharmila Finally Finds A Home With The Red Cross

What a shame.

11/08/2016 9:03 AM IST | Updated 11/08/2016 9:28 AM IST
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Human rights activist Irom Sharmila addressing a press conference as she was brought to the Cheirap Court on August 9, 2016 in Imphal, India.

For sixteen years peace activist Irom Sharmila fought for the rights of Manipuris to live without the fear of state brutality. When she decided to break her fast to take part in electoral politics, she was promptly dumped by the people she represented internationally.

After breaking her fast at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences this week, Irom was taken by the police to two places of her choice to take up residence, only to be turned down by the residents, allegedly daunted by the threats of insurgent outfits upset with her decision to break her 16-year-long fast to contest elections.

The Indian Express reported that local women have resisted her attempt to take up residence. The 44-year-old went to the ISKCON temple and from there to a police station and back to her shelter for 16 years -- the JNIMS.

However, she may finally find a home with the Manipur chapter of Indian Red Cross Society, reported Telegraph.

"We are contemplating to request her to stay with us for as long as she wants. We will take a decision very soon and make the offer to her," Y Mohen Singh, secretary of the IRCS Manipur, told the paper.

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Indian human rights activist Irom Sharmila speaks to the media outside a prison hospital in Imphal August 20, 2014.

The residents are wary about the "commotion" her stay would attract, the report said.

However Irom is yet to meet her mother and has vowed not to till the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, a draconian law that gives the army sweeping powers, is repealed.

Singh said it was "inhuman" to deny Irom a home. Irom has accepted the offer "happily".

The Express report said even the 'Save Sharmila Group', that has supported her all these years, have distanced themselves from her.

Irom has been put on a special liquid diet and is under the supervision of doctors of JNIMS.

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Human rights activist Irom Sharmila breaks her 16-year long fast at a press conference at Jawahar Lal Nehru Hospital on August 9, 2016 in Imphal, India.

Armed police personnel were posted in the hospital compound in the wake of security threat to the iconic rights activist with some groups opposing her decision to end the fast, a police officer said.

Sharmila also sought to clarify her stand on her move to enter electoral politics.

After ending the fast, Sharmila said she wants to become the chief minister of Manipur so that she could repeal AFSPA.

"They have misunderstood me, about my real being," Sharmila said reacting to criticism in some quarters. "They have been seeing me from their own point of view without connecting with what is in my heart," she added. Sharmila insisted that her intention was to enter politics to ensure that AFSPA is repealed.

Even after breaking her hunger strike, Sharmila is maintaining her resolve not to clip her nails, comb her hair, go to her house and meet her mother till AFSPA is repealed.

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Human rights activist Irom Sharmila addressing press as she was brought to the Cheirap court on August 9, 2016 in Imphal, India.

On November 5, 2000, when she took a vow to start an indefinite hunger strike till the government repeals AFSPA, which gives armed forces immunity against prosecution for their actions, her protest had multiple dimensions which went beyond not taking food and water.

The toughest one was not to go home and meet her 84-year-old mother Shakhi Devi till achieving her goal of getting AFSPA revoked.

Sharmila has not visited her house at Kongpal Kongkham Leikai, on the edge of Imphal city, even once all these years.

(With PTI inputs)

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