Irom Sharmila launches her own party in Manipur

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Irom Sharmila

The Manipur based Rights activists Irom Sharmila on Monday announced to launch her own political party. She announced her party as “People’s Resurgence Justice Alliance” in Imphal. She had expressed her desire to contest Manipur Assembly election next year when she broke her fast in August and had stated that she wanted to be the chief minister to further her demands.

Growing concerns from existing party and offers made to her, gave her idea to launch own party. In 2014 two parties asked her to stand in the national election, but she declined. She was then denied the right to vote as a person confined in jail cannot vote according to law. On 19 August 2014 a court ordered her release from custody, subject to there being no other grounds for detention. She was re-arrested on 22 August 2014 on similar charges to those for which she was acquitted, and remanded in judicial custody for 15 days. Amnesty International has declared her as a prisoner of conscience.

Irom Chanu Sharmila (born 14 March 1972) is also known as the “Iron Lady” or “Mengoubi” (“the fair one”). She is a civil rights activist, political activist, and poet from the Indian state of Manipur. On 2 November 2000, she began a hunger strike which she ended on 9 August 2016, after 16 years of fasting. Having refused food and water for more than 500 weeks, she has been called “the world’s longest hunger striker”. On International Women’s Day, 2014 she was voted the top woman icon of India by MSN Poll.

Earlier in September, she also met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and sought his advice on how to defeat “major political parties” in her state. She has also said that she wants to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and seek his advice on politics.

On August 9, Sharmila broke her 16-year-old hunger strike demanding repeal of the AFSPA and announced that she would take her battle to the next level by floating her party as she wants to become the chief minister of Manipur to “press” for the demands.