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Irom Sharmila asked to appear before Delhi court

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, Jan 30 (IANS): A Delhi court Thursday directed Manipuri activist Irom Sharmila - dubbed the "Iron Lady" - to appear before it March 29 in a case of attempted suicide over her fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar here in 2006.

Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain issued the warrant against Sharmila after she failed to appear before the court.

The testimony of the prosecution witness in the case is also being recorded.

Sharmila is being detained in a security ward of a hospital in Manipur capital Imphal. She has been on a fast for about 12 years, demanding repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

In March 2013, the court framed charges against the 40-year-old Sharmila for attempting suicide and put her on trial after she refused to plead guilty.

Sharmila was present in the court in March 2013 and denied that she attempted suicide while fasting at Jantar Mantar in 2006.

The court told her that the maximum punishment in the case was a few months to a year, and since she was in custody for more than six years, and if she pleads guilty, the case would be settled.

But Sharmila refused to accept the charges, saying she has been protesting for the last 12 years in the "most non-violent way, like Mahatma Gandhi".

She said she was fasting for the people of Manipur, as they are being neglected by the government, and requested the court not to ask her to appear before it taking into consideration her medical condition.

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