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Manipur government prepared to protect Sharmila

Irom Chanu Sharmila after her release

Irom Chanu Sharmila after her releaseImphal: Manipur Home Minister Gaikhangam today said the government was all prepared to protect and look after the health of social activist Irom Chanu Sharmila but did not comment on the withdrawal of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers (Assam and Manipur) Act 1958 from the state.

Gaikhangam said the demand of Sharmila, who has been on fast for the past 14 years demanding withdrawal of the act and was recently absolved of the charge of trying to commit suicide, was not a personal one.

Official sources said the state government was considering under which sections of laws or acts Sharmila would be rearrested after her release by a local court which acquitted her of the charge of attempt to commit suicide saying there was no evidence of it.

After her release from a make-shift prison here, Sharmila supported by hundreds of womenfolk and social organisations had walked free yesterday from the make-shift prison at J N Government Hospital where a room has been converted into a jail for her. Soon afterwards she began her fast at a place near the hospital.

“I will continue to fast till my demand (withdrawl of AFSPA) is met. The order of the sessions court that I am not attempting to commit suicide (by launching fast to remove the controversial Act) is welcome,” she had said.

Sharmila, a former journalist and social activist, had launched her fast unto death on November 2000 after Assam Rifles killed 10 innocent persons at Malom area here in an alleged encounter with insurgents.

Official sources said she has been in jail for the past many years and was released from time to time and rearrested again and again under the provisions Indian Penal Code for attempting to commit suicide. A room in


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