IMPHAL, March 3 – Manipur’s hunger striker Irom Chanu Sharmila has been flown to New Delhi for her appearance before the Patiala Court today.
The Iron Lady of Manipur has been on a hunger strike for the last 12 years, demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958, which gives security personnel the power to arrest, search and shoot one on mere suspicion.
Sharmila left her security ward room of the JNIMS Hospital here where she was kept for her alleged attempt to commit suicide under IPC 309 ever since she launched her fasting agitation since November 2000, around 10:30 am on Sunday and taken in a police-escorted ambulance to Tulihal airport to catch an Air India flight at 12 noon.
Anti-AFSPA campaigner Sharmila, prior to her departure for airport, told the media that she will continue the agitation until the goal is achieved. She also informed that the authority did not inform her properly why she is going to the Delhi court. “But I believe it might relate to an agitation in the past (in October, 2006 New Delhi),” she said .
Assistant jailor N Hemantakumar is leading a seven-member team, which include one female warden from Manipur Central Jail, two lady police officers from Porompat police station, three medical department officials, including one doctor and two nurses, accompanying Sharmila.
Sources said Sharmila was summoned to appear before the Patiala Court in regard to a case registered by the New Delhi court for holding a protest at Jantar Mantar in the national capital on October 5, 2006 demanding repeal of the AFSPA.
Sharmila will fly back from New Delhi to Imphal on March 5 after appearing before the court. Sharmila is expected to stay at Manipur Bhavan in New Delhi tonight.