Irom Sharmila, the Manipuri activist who was protesting against the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in the state , finally broke her 16-year old fast on Tuesday.
The ‘Iron Lady of Manipur’ told waiting newspersons that she wants to become chief Minister of Manipur to remove AFSPA. She will contest the 2017 assembly elections from Khurai Assembly constituency as an independent.
Reports say that some local and national parties have sent feelers to her. She has not responded yet.
Doctors did not permit her to eat normal solid food immediately. One doctor said: "As she has been staying away from normal solid food for over 16 years, we have to take a step by step approach. It will take some days for her to resume normal food."
It was officially announced that Sharmila will stay in hospital for the next three days under medical supervision. During the time, she will be administered solid food bit by bit and her health closely monitored.
From early morning, reporters from local, national and international media have been hanging around the J.N. Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal where Sharmila has been staying for the last 16 years.
However she may have been disappointed that, besides some curious onlookers, there were no supporters. She was whisked away from the hospital to the court complex in a well-guarded ambulance. The court permitted her to speak to the press only after signing the bond.
Sharmila began her hunger strike in November 2000 following the killing of 10 civilians by security forces.
She was arrested by the Manipur government the same year on charges of attempting to commit suicide.
She has always denied the charge, saying she is using the fast as a weapon.
As the prosecution failed to prove that she was trying to kill herself, the Chief Judicial Magistrate had ordered on February 29, 2016 that she be freed.
She was rearrested on the same charge as she continued the fast.