Manipuri rights activist Irom Sharmila on Tuesday told a Delhi court that the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act should be scrapped as it has caused “immense hardship” to the people of the State and thousands of innocent persons have been killed over the years.
In her statement recorded before the court in a case in which she is facing trial for allegedly trying to commit suicide while undertaking fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar in 2006, Ms. Sharmila said police had violated her fundamental rights and implicated her in a false case.
The 42-year-old Ms. Sharmila, who is on a fast for around 15 years in Manipur demanding repeal of AFSPA, broke down in the court while recording her statement.
She told Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain that she had sat on a fast at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on October 4, 2006 but she was forcibly removed by the police from there.
“It is correct that I had sat on fast at Jantar Mantar on October 4, 2006 but I have been fasting since 2000 and same has not affected my health and I have never refused medical check up…,” she told the court.
“I have been demanding that AFSPA be repealed or lifted from Manipur as the same has caused immense hardship to the common man of Manipur. Thousands of innocent people have been killed, hundreds of rapes have taken place on Manipur’s women. No action has been taken under the garb of AFSPA,” she said.
Ms. Sharmila, who is fed through a nasal tube, also told the court that she has been continuing her struggle against AFSPA and as the issue was attaining attention worldwide, the police violated her fundamental rights and forcibly removed her from Jantar Mantar during her fast in 2006.
The court concluded the recording of Ms. Sharmila’s statement during which she said that she wants to examine witnesses in her defence. The court has now fixed the matter for Wednesday when Ms. Sharmila’s lawyer would file a list of defence witness.
The court had on June 6, 2015 concluded recording of prosecution evidence and had fixed the case for recording of Ms. Sharmila’s statement under section 313 of CrPC.
Ms. Sharmila had earlier told the court that she was very much eager to eat if she got the assurance that the “draconian” act will be revoked.
Widespread discrimination was being done with the people from northeast, she had alleged, adding she never intended to commit suicide and it was just a protest against AFSPA.
The court had on March 4, 2013, put her on trial after she had refused to plead guilty to the charge of attempting to commit suicide (section 309 of IPC).
If convicted, Ms. Sharmila, who is out on bail in this case, faces a maximum jail term of one year. She is in judicial custody in some other case lodged in Manipur.
Known as the ‘Iron Lady’, Ms. Sharmila had earlier told the court that her protest was non-violent.