Former Bollywood actress Renuka Shahane on Thursday posted on Facebook a status update inviting the Iron Lady of Manipur, Irom Sharmila to move in with her in Mumbai if no one is willing to accommodate her.
In the status update, Shahane writes that it would be an honour to serve the Iron Lady. She goes on to berate "'human rights amd anti-Afspa 'activists'," who were happy and supportive only when 'you had a tube attached to your nose for force-feeding or only when you were facing the wrath of the State with courage, are not worth a second thought'.
She further criticises all those who 'stand against all those forces who want to force their opinions; right, left or centre, on any adult woman who has chosen her form of protest, suffered the consequences of her choice, chosen a boyfriend who is "inconvenient" for people close to her and is yet again willing to take on the challenges of her choices'.
Sahane was moved at the sight of Sharmila 'being sent back to the hospital bed' that was her 'prison for 16 years but has now suddenly become' her 'home'.
Earlier, on 9 August, after breaking her 16-year-long hunger strike on, Sharmila decided to not to clip her nails, comb her hair, go to her house and meet her mother till Afspa was repealed.
On 5 November, 2000, when she took a vow to start an indefinite hunger strike till the government repeals Afspa, which gives armed forces immunity against prosecution for their actions, her protest had multiple dimensions which went beyond not taking food and water.
The toughest one was not to go home and meet her 84-year-old mother Shakhi Devi till achieving her goal of getting Afspa revoked.
But the public animosity to a woman who for years was considered an icon and earned the sobriquet "Iron Lady" has stunned many.
Finally, the Manipur branch of the Red Cross Society decided to give her temporary shelter till the time Sharmila finds a more permanent residence in Imphal.