Human rights activist Irom Sharmila married her British partner Desmond Coutinho in a low-key affair at the Kodaikanal sub-registrar’s office on Thursday. They were accompanied by documentary filmmaker Divya Bharathi and other witnesses from the town, reported The Times Of India.
The duo had moved to the hill station after Sharmila lost the Manipur Assembly election in March. Sharmila and Coutinho had submitted their papers in Kodaikanal for their marriage under the Special Marriage Act at the sub-registrar’s office on July 12. As per the Act, the couple needed to give a 30-day notice before getting married. The sub-registrar had dismissed objections to their marriage.
Sharmila told the media that her search for peace had ended in Kodaikanal, NDTV reported.
On August 4, the Hindu Makkal Katchi had filed a petition against the wedding. Its Tamil Nadu General Secretary R Ravikumar, in the petition, had said Sharmila’s reasons for moving to Kodaikanal should be investigated. “If she really wanted to fight against human rights violations, she should go to Kashmir,” Ravikumar had said. “Her stay would certainly attract international and local agitators to Kodaikanal, and it would affect the peace.”
In July, another social activist, V Mahendran, had made the same arguments that Kodaikanal’s security will be at stake if Sharmila and her fiancé were to permanently settle in the tourist town after getting married.
Sharmila had responded to the opposition to her marriage, saying that the matter involved the private lives of two people, and that she did not understand why it scared other people. “Whether we are getting married or not, we will live together in the house in Kodaikanal,” she had said. “I do not know what kind of threat a marriage of two persons could pose to the beautiful state.”