Irom Sharmila Breaks 16 Year long Fast to Contest in Elections


Irom Sharmila, the “Iron Lady of Manipur”, who fasted for 16 years in protest against alleged army atrocities in Manipur and the intrusion of AFSPA in the state, burst into tears on Tuesday as she licked honey from her palm to end her fast.

Making the first move towards a new life that will include politics and marriage, Sharmila said: “I am not a goddess, I want to be a human being. I want to be Chief Minister of Manipur to make a positive difference.”

This morning, the frail, meek 44-year-old left, for the last time, the prison hospital in which she spent years being force-fed through a plastic tube after being arrested for attempted suicide.
With her first taste of food, she winced, then wept for several moments.

For a section of her supporters and family, the end of the long fast is a big, disconcerting change.

Bombarded with questions about her plans, she said, haltingly but defiantly: “This is my life. I want equality… I am called the Iron Lady of Manipur and I want to live up to it.”

She wants to contest the Manipur election next year as an independent candidate.


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