'Want to become Chief Minister of Manipur', says Irom Sharmila after ending 16-year long fast
After being on fast for the last 16 years demanding repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, Manipur's 'Iron Lady' Irom Chanu Sharmila ended her fast today.
"I will never forget this moment," Sharmila said as she broke down.
Announcing that she has effectively ended her fast today, Sharmila said, "I want to join politics as I've been called the Iron lady of Manipur and I want to live upto that name."
She wondered why some radical groups were against her decision to get into politics and said, "Let them kill me the way people killed Mahatma Gandhi with accusation of anti-Hindu."
"I am being the real embodiment of revolution, and I want to be the CM of Manipur to help people," she said.
Earlier in the day, she was granted bail from a court after she promised the magistrate to break her 16-year-old fast against AFSPA.
"The court examined two witnesses. She has now got bail on personal bond of Rs 10,000," Sharmila's lawyer L Rebada Devi told reporters here.
"I have been fasting for the past 16 years, I am ending my fast today. I want to try a different agitation now," Sharmila told the media outside the courtroom today.
She said she will get AFSPA repealed once she wins the elections.
"I will contest against the chief minister of Manipur in the upcoming state elections," she said.
The iconic rights activist has been forcibly fed through a nasal tube since 2000 to keep her alive at a prison-turned-hospital in Imphal.
Though a large number of her supporters and women activists under the forum of Sharmila Kunba Lup will be meeting her as she starts her new journey, Sharmila's 84-year-old mother Shakhi Devi will be conspicuous by her absence.
The family and her supporters, who have not been able to meet her since July 26 when she announced her decision to end her fast and enter politics to ensure that AFSPA is repealed through political means, have no idea where she is going to stay from now on.
Even her brother expressed her disappointement over activist's decision to end fast.
"I am not happy to know that she has decided to end her fast. What upsets me more is that she did not consult me or her mother before taking this important decision. My mother always told her to fight till the end - till the demand to repeal AFSPA is met," Sharmila's elder brother Irom Singhajit was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
While many have urged the civil rights activist to continue her fast, some radical groups have even threatened her with dire consequences if she ends her fast.
In an open letter to her, Namoijam Oken and Khetri Laba, leaders of the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) a Meitei insurgent outfit, and the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP), an ultra-leftist group, urged their “elder sister” not to end the fast. They even warned that some former insurgents, who were elected to the Manipur Assembly, had been assassinated.
The proscribed group 'Alliance for Socialist Unity Kangleipak' said that "some former revolutionary leaders were assassinated" after moving away from the cause and participating in public life. “All those who joined electoral politics did so knowing well that it was a dead-end,” ASUK chairman N Oken and vice-chairman Ksh Lab Meitei said in a statement on Wednesday.
(With PTI inputs)