Irom Sharmila a lonely figure in Manipur today

Irom Chanu Sharmila Courtesy: Times of India
Irom Chanu Sharmila Courtesy: Times of India

Source: Times of India

MANIPUR: Often regarded a human rights icon, Irom Sharmila is now a lonely figure in her home state. Her decision to end her hunger strike against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and contest polls hasn’t gone down well with the people of Manipur.
Many women even objected to her stay in their localities, forcing Sharmila to return to the security ward of JNIMS Hospital where she was force-fed during her agitation days. The Indian Red Cross Society (Manipur) has, however, offered her shelter.
But some political and social bodies have endorsed her new strategy. Social analysts say the reason for public anger is her decision to marry Desmond Coutinho, an India-born British national whom many have accused of being an agent to destabilize her struggle.
As people have already seen the politicians’ failure to scrap AFSPA despite repeated promises, Sharmila’s plan to contest polls is another reason to reject her. “Her decisions have washed away our trust,” said Ratan Saikhom, an Imphal resident.
“She has broken her own promise to fast till AFSPA is repealed. This tantamounts to fooling the public,” he added.

Imphal-based Human Rights Alert (HRA), which has been supporting her, said it is currently concentrating on Sharmila’s health and social reintegration. .
Sharmila Kanba Lup (SAKAL), which has been supporting Sharmila’s campaign since 2008, disbanded the body on Thursday.


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