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International rights body demands release of Sharmila

By Sobhapati Samom

IMPHAL, March 15 � Front Line, an Ireland-based International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders has demanded immediate and unconditional release of Manipur�s civil rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila and drop all charges against her.

Mary Lawlor, director of Front Line in an email to Manipur-based Human Rights Initiative said, �Front Line believes that the repeated arrest and detention of Irom Chanu Sharmila is directly related to her human rights activities, in particular her peaceful protest against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act(AFSPA) 1958. Front Line fears for the physical and psychological integrity of Irom Chanu Sharmila�.

Rights activist Sharmila began her hunger strike on November 2, 2009, the day Assam Rifles personnel killed ten innocent people in Manipur, demanding repeal of AFSPA which enables special powers to be conferred upon members of the armed forces deployed here.

At the time the army refused to initiate an inquiry into the massacre claiming that the officers had acted with the authority given to them under AFSPA.

Since then she was released every year only to arrest her shortly afterwards again on the same charge. Over the decade long period during which Irom Chanu Sharmila has been on hunger strike but detained in the security ward of JN Hospital under the judicial custody of Sajiwa Central Jail and enforced nasal feeding in order to keep her alive.

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International rights body demands release of Sharmila

IMPHAL, March 15 � Front Line, an Ireland-based International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders has demanded immediate and unconditional release of Manipur�s civil rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila and drop all charges against her.

Mary Lawlor, director of Front Line in an email to Manipur-based Human Rights Initiative said, �Front Line believes that the repeated arrest and detention of Irom Chanu Sharmila is directly related to her human rights activities, in particular her peaceful protest against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act(AFSPA) 1958. Front Line fears for the physical and psychological integrity of Irom Chanu Sharmila�.

Rights activist Sharmila began her hunger strike on November 2, 2009, the day Assam Rifles personnel killed ten innocent people in Manipur, demanding repeal of AFSPA which enables special powers to be conferred upon members of the armed forces deployed here.

At the time the army refused to initiate an inquiry into the massacre claiming that the officers had acted with the authority given to them under AFSPA.

Since then she was released every year only to arrest her shortly afterwards again on the same charge. Over the decade long period during which Irom Chanu Sharmila has been on hunger strike but detained in the security ward of JN Hospital under the judicial custody of Sajiwa Central Jail and enforced nasal feeding in order to keep her alive.