‘Iron Lady’ Irom Sharmila to end 16-year fast on August 9, contest elections in Manipur

New Delhi: Irom Sharmila, who has been on a hunger strike since 2000, has decided to end her fast on August 9. She also announced that she would contest state elections in Manipur.

Sharmila, 44, who is known as the Iron Lady, was on a fast for the past 16 years in Manipur demanding repeal of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

While addressing the media, she said, “I will break my fast as the government has failed to give any positive response… I will fight elections to resolve the issues.”

Gunning down of 10 civilians by the Assam Rifles battalion triggered her to launch the indefinite hunger strike, in 2000. She was arrested multiple times and was force fed through a nasal tube.

During the last 16 years of her fasting, a nasal tube on Sharmila’s face became a common feature, in most of her photographs.

Media reports suggest that Centre was having ‘back channel’ talks with Irom, trying to persuade her to end her fast. Manipur is scheduled to have Assembly elections in 2017.

She was put on trial on March 4, 2013, for allegedly trying to commit suicide while undertaking a fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar on October 4, 2006.