Will end fast if AFSPA repealed, Sharmila tells court

Imphal/New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) Rights activist Irom Sharmila, who has been on a fast unto death since November 4, 2000 demanding repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, on Tuesday assured a court in Delhi that she shall call off the fast if the Act is repealed.

Sharmila appeared before Judge H. Singh at the Patiala House Court in a case of attempt to commit suicide during her fast at Jantar Mantar on October 6-7, 2006 soon after being released in Imphal.

She told the jam packed court room that she loves her life and was merely using her fast as a weapon to achieve her goal.

“It is no crime,” she contended.

“Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, had resorted to fasts while making certain demands,” she told the court.

The district and sessions court in Imphal had earlier found her not guilty of the charge of attempting to commit suicide.

However she was rearrested within a few days as she continued the fast.

Sharmila said she was using the fast “for more impact” in her demand for repealing the AFSPA.

“I am fed up by trials on the same charge again and again,” she said.

“Since there is no meaning of true democracy in the country, human rights activists should join hands. The matter should be brought to the attention of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations,” she said.

Sharmila also reiterated her desire to have a meeting with the prime minister on the AFSPA issue.

She said she had expressed her desire a long time back, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not met her so far.

The hearing will continue on Wednesday.

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