IMPHAL, July 28 - Manipur human rights crusader Irom Chanu Sharmila�s decision to break her fast unto death against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and contest the elections has evoked mixed reactions.
�With this decision Sharmila�s iconic fight against AFSPA is bound to take a new course. This also comes at a time when the Supreme Court has ordered 1,528 cases of alleged extra-judicial execution in Manipur over the last two decades to be investigated. Now, the government needs to do its part to pave the way for the repeal of AFSPA,� said Arijit Sen, Project Manager at Amnesty International India in a press release. Amnesty also calls on the Manipur Government to immediately and unconditionally release the 44-year-old activist and to drop all charges against her.
Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign (SSSC) in a release observed that the move to break her fast proves the failure of the elected government of the State and at Centre who never tried to meet her and to work on her demand.
On Tuesday, Sharmila, who has been on a fast-unto-death agitation, announced her decision soon after her appearance before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Imphal West.
Sharmila�s elder brother Irom Singhajit said, �If she wants to end her fast, enter politics or even enter wedlock, it is her decision. I have no prior knowledge and it was not discussed with me.�
Executive Director of Human Rights Alert, Babloo Loitongbam said, �She had launched the agitation as per her decision, so it�s her decision to break the fast as well. I think she is looking for another platform for the cause.� Onil Kshetrimayum, Trustee of Just Peace Foundation, a rights group supporting Sharmila�s cause also supported her decision.