IMPHAL, June 4: The counsel on behalf of Irom Sharmila, senior advocate Khaidem Mani, expressed dissatisfaction at the conclusion drawn by the District and Session Judge Manipur East, which once again declined to lift the charge that Sharmila is detained for attempted suicide.
Expressing reservations about Justice A Noutuneshwari’s ruling, he said it is his and his client’s wish that the case be appealed further to a higher court, desirably the Manipur High Court, as a revision case.
Sharmila, internationally known anti-AFSPA crusader and human rights defender, who has been on a fast for the last 14 years, was produce before the bench of the CJM Imphal East Justice A Noutuneshwari today at around 11:15 am for the hearing of her case under section 309 IPC on the charge of attempt to commit suicide.
After the hearing, Shamila spoke to the media in the sidelines and said hers is not an attempt to commit suicide. On the contrary, hers is a resistance struggle to rescue the society from the oppression of the draconian act AFSPA which has been in promulgation in Manipur for the last many decades. She reiterated that her fast is a protest to have the AFSPA removed so that the people can cease to live in perpetual fear psychosis.
She said today she came to court with immense hope that the charge framed against her would be dropped forever and the people of this beleaguered region would become free citizens of India, but the judgment belied her hopes totally. She said she is dissatisfied and upset by the judgment.
She however said she will not give up the fight or the hope that ultimately the struggle will bear fruit, provided the voice of the masses stays focused and united on the question of the repeal of the AFSPA.
Her counsel Khaidem Mani explained that the court has charged her under section 309 IPC for attempt to commit suicide, citing prima facie evidence. He said cross examination of prosecution witnesses will be conducted on July 7, 2014.
He further said that it is unreasonable to frame a charge sheet against her for the supposed cognizable offence of attempt to commit suicide. “She is fasting in the formed of agitation to have the AFSPA repealed, and demanding the rights to life and liberty under Article 26 of Indian Constitution guaranteed to all bona fide citizens of India,” Mani said.
This fast cannot be equated with suicide attempt, Mani argued in court. The court however remained unmoved by the defence counsel’s argument and directed that there will be further cross examination.
It may be mentioned that Sharmila is appearing before the JMIC after a long gap.