IMPHAL, Jan 22 � Irom Chanu Sharmila was released from judicial custody following a court order directing her release and she promptly resumed her hunger strike in the market place in the heart of the city this evening.
The human rights crusader has been staging a 15-year hunger strike in protest against human rights abusers in the Northeastern State, sources said.
The Judicial Magistrate Imphal East Wisdom Kamodang today passed the order releasing her from custody.
The court discharged the charge sheet framed against Sharmila for the second time today as prosecution had failed to prove its charge of attempted suicide against her, said Senior advocate Khaidem Mani who appeared as her counsel in court.
Sharmila, known as the Iron Lady of Manipur for her unwavering and non-violent protest began her fast in November 2000 after hearing the news of killing of 10 people by the troops of Assam Rifles near a bus stop at Malom in the outskirt of Imphal. She is also demanding withdrawal of the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958 which gives soldiers the �license to kill�.
On August 19, last year, a Sessions court in Imphal had ordered her release, dismissing prosecution charge that she was attempting to commit suicide by way of hunger strike. But she was re-arrested three days later on the ground of securing her life.
�If the government want to save Sharmila�s life the only way is to repeal AFSPA�, said human rights lawyer Mani. She was arrested on charges of attempt to commit suicide under IPC 309 and giving obstruction to police under IPC 353 and was sent to a prison hospital where she was force-fed via a nasal drip several times a day.
Speaking to media at the court complex at Lamphelpat in Imphal, Sharmila said she will continue her struggle till her demand is met.