Iconic Indian activist, Irom Sharmila, who has been on fasting for 16 years in protest against AFSPA, ended it today.
Her protest has won her worldwide recognition, with Amnesty International describing her as a prisoner of conscience.
In 2000, the death of 10 people in firing by security forces drove Sharmila to launch a hunger strike for the removal of the AFSPA. Armed Forces Special Powers Act
, which is in effect in several Indian states, including in Manipur and Kashmir, gives special powers to soldiers to arrest without warrants and even shoot to kill in certain situations.
In the morning, the 44-year-old activist left the prison hospital for the last time.
She was force-fed through a plastic tube there after being arrested for attempted suicide.
Also known as ‘Iron Lady’, Sharmila was released on bail after furnishing a bond of Rs. 10,000.
After her release, Sharmila has decided to contest elections for the post of Manipur chief minister.
Amnesty International supported her, saying that the time was right for dismantling the law.
“Irom Sharmila’s hunger strike over the last 16 years has been a testament to her passion for human rights, and her belief that a draconian law like the AFSPA has no place in any society. The government arrested her, confined her to a hospital room and force fed her for 16 years, seemingly to break her will. There was zero dialogue,” said Abhirr VP, Senior Campaigner with Amnesty International India, in a media release.