Irom Sharmila Chanu, popularly known as “Iron Lady of Manipur”, is from Manipur, a small state in North-East India. She is a civil rights activist and political activist who fights against Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA) applied to Manipur by the Central Government. The act grants security forces the power to search properties without a warrant, and to arrest people, and to use deadly force if there is ‘reasonable suspicion’ that a person is acting against the state. To repeal the act, she started fasting from 2 November 2000. She has received numerous awards and appreciation from various national and international organisations. She is considered as a symbol of strength.
But so suddenly she ended her fast on 9 August 2016. Is it relevant? Her purpose of fasting has not served yet. The whole people of Manipur are shocked and showed disapproval at her decision.
Is it right to blame her? Even though she ended her fast,she still has not stopped fighting against AFSPA. Maybe she has gotten tired of shouting to deaf ears or maybe she must have realized that even if she fast for a lifetime the Indian govt is not going to pay heed to her. So maybe she has decided to take this extreme step to continue fighting against AFSPA by adopting another course of action.
On an interesting note, she has decided to run for state assembly elections and is expressing her desire to become the Chief Minister of Manipur one day. Maybe this is a good and a very sensible decision from her side. Only when she has power in her hand that she would be able to turn the tide in her favor.
We should wait and see if she ultimately sees the light at the end of the day. Notwithstanding whatever decisions that she take, ultimately it is her achievement in repealing the AFSPA that is going to count at the end of the day. We should all support her decisions and continue to support her like we did before and fight together to reach the common end.