India defies Constitutional norms in the North East, Sharmila deplores

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IMPHAL, May 28: “I don’t want to commit suicide. I want to have my constitutional rights. I am demanding fundamental rights. India doesn’t apply the Constitutional norms in the North East. It is discrimination and racism,” said Irom Sharmila at the end of her court appearance before the Metropolitan Magistrate at Patiala House, New Delhi Wednesday, informed a source.

Sharmila was produced before the magistrate in connection with a case filed by the Delhi Police of Parliament Street, New Delhi against her for holding a hunger-strike at Jantar Mantar in the national capital in 2006 charging her of attempt to commit suicide.

According to a source, Sharmila started her speech, “I want to say something here,” and continued with her above statement leaving the judge somewhat stunned to reply.

However, metropolitan Magistrate Judge Akash Jain replied, “I understand what you said, but I cannot comment on that. I can only deal with the case.”

The anti-AFSPA crusader who has been on a hunger strike since November 2, 2000 left Imphal on May 27 by an Indigo flight accompanied by a doctor, a nurse of the JNIMS and one personnel each of the jail and Manipur Police.

Sharmila was produced before the Metropolitan Magistrate at 10.30am today, informed the source.

Today’s court proceeding saw two witnesses of the Delhi Police examined.

Sharmila’s counsels advocate Colin Gonsalves, advocate VK Ohri, advocate Sukla and Sarika were also present during the court proceedings, informed the source.

The court had earlier ordered that considering the high expenses the State has to incur in order to produce Sharmila in the Delhi court, her physical presence in the next hearing was not mandatory and her counsels could represent her before the court.

However, sources said, after Sharmila replied, “It is my case and I want to appear,” the Court ordered that she should appear again on July 17 and 18 before the same court.

“The judge had ordered for the exemption of the physical presence of Irom Sharmila and suggested that she may be represented by a counsel but she objected to it and said that she will appear for all hearings as she is fighting for truth,” said a press release of the Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign.

The press release said Sharmila’s matter was scheduled in court room no 20B at serial number 27th in the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain.

“Sharmila was produced in heavy security of police and most of the supporters were not allowed to enter the court room,” it continued.

“During the lunch break, with the help of advocates, Irom Sharmila was allowed to meet her supporters and media. Members of her support groups including SSSC (Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign), MSAD and NEFIS were there. Chinglen from NEFIS talked to her rergarding the struggle and that they are all with the truth. Prof. V.P. Srivastava, Mahtab Alam and members of SSSC had talked to her in general and expressed their solidarity with her and also briefed her about the ongoing events to strengthen the voice in support of her and against AFSPA.”

Meanwhile, the SSSC has also demanded from the government to pay immediate attention towards the Sharmila’s hunger strike.

It has further demanded that charges of ‘commit to suicide’ must be taken back and she must be set free.

“Her fast is for the life, and not against life in anyway, also it is for the society and not for any personal reason. With the interim relief, Government must order to remove charges of 309 (attempt to suicide case) from New Delhi and Manipur  and must set her free to meet people like any normal citizen can,” it said.

“Also, as everyone has some expectation from change of government, SSSC appeal to the Govt of India to take concern of the plight of common people of Manipur who had also showed their trust in govt by their vote and that on the reasons of ‘justice’ as well as for ‘welfare’ and ‘trust building’, it must repeal AFSPA at the earliest.”

The SSSC has also demanded that the Government of India should officially meet Irom Sharmila.

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