Tags: irom sharmila | activist | continue | hunger strike

Irom Sharmila: Freed Activist Will Continue 14-Year Hunger Strike

Image: Irom Sharmila: Freed Activist Will Continue 14-Year Hunger Strike
In this May 28, 2014 file photo, Irom Chanu Sharmila, also known as the 'Iron Lady of Manipur', (C), leaves after an appearance at the Patiala House Court in New Delhi on May 28, 2014. (Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 21 Aug 2014 06:10 PM

Freed Indian activist Irom Sharmila has vowed to continue her 14-year hunger strike as a protest against laws that take away human rights protections in the country.

Sharmila was jailed 14 years ago after she started the hunger strike, accused of attempting suicide, which is a crime in India. She has been force-fed over the last 14 years, released once a year and given the opportunity to start eating on her own again. When she didn’t, she was returned to prison.

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The 42-year-old Sharmila left prison Wednesday after the charges against her were dismissed by court order, The Associated Press reported.

The court order stated that Sharmila wasn’t trying to kill herself by fasting, but was using it as a protest of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

"She says that she will continue her fast until her demands are met," her brother, Singhjit Irom, told the AP. "She is emotional, but her willpower is still strong. She says she will continue to fight."

Babloo Loitongbam, of Human Rights Alert, told the AP that the state will still ensure that Sharmila’s condition doesn’t worsen.

“The court has said that if she continues to fast she can be fed through a nasal tube but she cannot be charged as a criminal for her hunger strike," Loitongbam told AP.

“This welcome but long overdue judgement recognizes that Irom Sharmila’s hunger strike is a powerful protest for human rights and a peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression,” said Shailesh Rai, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India, on the organization’s website.

“Irom Sharmila should never have been arrested in the first place. All other charges against her of attempted suicide must be dropped and she must be immediately released,” Rai said. “Authorities must instead pay attention to the issues this remarkable activist is raising.”

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Freed Indian activist Irom Sharmila has vowed to continue her 14-year hunger strike as a protest against laws that take away human rights protections in the country.
irom sharmila, activist, continue, hunger strike
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2014-10-21
Thursday, 21 Aug 2014 06:10 PM
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