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Very much eager to eat if AFSPA is revoked, says Irom Sharmila

Wednesday, 28 May 2014 - 8:27pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI
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Rights activist Irom Sharmila, who is on a fast for over 13 years in Manipur demanding repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), on Wednesday told a Delhi court that she was very much eager to eat if she gets the assurance that the "draconian" Act will be revoked.

Sharmila, who appeared before the court in pursuance to the production warrant issued against her in connection with a case lodged in 2006 for allegedly attempting to commit suicide during her fast-unto-death here at Jantar Mantar, claimed that wide scale discrimination was being done with the people from North East.

"I love my life very much and I am very much eager to eat something right here in the court, if I get an assurance that this undemocratic AFSPA is revoked," Sharmila said with her eyes full of tears.

41-year-old Sharmila, who came to the court with her nose tube in place, a day after flying in from Manipur, also told Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain that she never intended to commit suicide and it was just a protest against AFSPA.

"There are scholars and experts, who have forced the revoking of TADA and POTA but no one as such has come forward against the more 'severe' AFSPA, which is against the principal of non-violence" she told the magistrate.

During the proceedings, when the court told her that she would be given exemption from physical appearance due to her health condition, Sharmila replied, "It is my case and I want to be physically present in the court during the proceedings." She also alleged that democratic rights of the people of North-East was being taken away under the garb of AFSPA.

To this, the magistrate said that what she was demanding was not under his jurisdiction and he has to restrict himself to the trial of the case only.

During the hearing, the court recorded the statements of two policemen, who were arrayed as prosecution witnesses in the case in which the Manipuri-activist is facing trial.

The court has fixed the matter for July 17 for recording of statements of other witnesses in the case. 

Sharmila was brought before the court from Manipur amidst tight security.

During the recording of statement, inspector Surendra Kaushik told the court that he had received information from his senior officials that on October 4, 2006, the activist was staging protest at Jantar Mantar and her previous medical check-up revealed that she was not in good health.

He, however, told the court that he did not remember what details he had recorded in his statement given before the then SHO of Parliament Street police station here about the medical condition of Sharmila.
The court, after recording the statements, told the police officials accompanying Sharmila if her stay in Delhi could be extended till tomorrow.

To this, the police official informed the court that they had no prior sanction from their seniors regarding this and she needs to be taken back to Manipur today itself.

"In order to ensure the completion of prosecution evidence in the next date of hearing, notice be issued to all the remaining material witnesses for recording of statements on July 17-July 18, 2014," the court said and directed the police officials to produce Sharmila before it on that day.

The court had on April 1 issued production warrant against Sharmila after she did not appear before it.

On March 4 last year, the court had put Sharmila on trial after she had refused to plead guilty for the offence of attempting to commit suicide (section 309 of the IPC).

If convicted, Sharmila, who is out on bail in this case, faces a maximum jail term of one year. Popularly known as the 'Iron Lady', Sharmila, who has been on fast since 2000 and is fed through a nasal tube, had earlier told the court that her protest was non-violent.

She had also rejected the charge that she had attempted suicide in 2006.

Her counsel had earlier told the court that Sharmila has already spent one year in judicial custody, which is the maximum sentence for the offence under section 309 of IPC.




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