Manipur activist Irom Sharmila will break her 16-year fast on August 9, she told media persons at Imphal Court on Tuesday. She will also contest the upcoming Manipur elections. Sharmila has been on a hunger strike for 16 years, demanding that the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act be repealed. AFSPA was enacted by the Jawaharlal Nehru government in 1958 to empower the Indian Army during counter-insurgency operations in the North East.
Recently, the Supreme Court said that the Indian Army and paramilitary personnel cannot use “excessive and retaliatory force” in Manipur and other regions where the Act is enforced. The apex court was hearing a petition seeking an inquiry by a Special Investigation Team or the Central Bureau of Investigation into extrajudicial killings in the state, PTI reported. “Use of excessive force and retaliatory force must be inquired into,” the bench had said.
Earlier this year, a Delhi court had acquitted Irom Sharmila in a case of attempted suicide, registered against her in 2006 when she was undertaking a fast until death at the Jantar Mantar, Delhi.