In a deeply moving submission Irom Sharmila, clad in a white shawl and an orange 'phanek', when produced before a Delhi court told the judge, "Mine is a non-violent struggle. I just want to live like a human being...What I am doing is following the principle of Mahatma Gandhi."
Sharmila, who has been carrying on more than a decade long one-woman struggle for the repeal of the Armed Forces, (Special Powers) Act in Manipur, was booked by the Delhi Police in 2006 during a fast in Jantar Mantar. She was charged with attempt to suicide, section 309 of the Indian Penal Code.
When the judge read out to her the prima facie charge against her that she is being accused of attempting to commit suicide, a tearful Sharmila said "No."
In response the judge said, "I respect you. But the law of the land does not permit you to take your life. To which, Sharmila responded, "I love life, I love life. I only want justice and peace."
Sharmila pleaded not guilty to the charge. Reiterating her stand before the judge she said, " I am following Mahatma Gandhi's principle...If AFSPA is repealed I will take food again."
The judge said that that was political decision and the court at present was concerned only with charge to attempt to commit suicide. "I understand that yours is a non violent struggle but the state does not permit you to take your life."
Passing his order, the judge charged her with attempt to commit suicide. Next hearing is on 22 May.
Sharmila arrived at around 9.50 pm in silver grey Tata Indica. Heavily guarded by police personnel she walked to the courtroom.
Known as the Iron Lady of Manipur, Sharmila began her fast in 2000 after Assam rifles personnel shot and killed 10 civilians on November 2, 2000 at Malom village in Manipur.
Booked under the same 309 IPC charge in Manipur, she has been force-fed in the security ward of Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal since 2002.
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Updated Date: Mar 04, 2013 12:01:33 IST