Sharmila released from judicial custody

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Irom Sharmila being escorted by SAKAL members after her release from judicial custody.
Irom Sharmila being escorted by SAKAL members after her release from judicial custody.

IMPHAL, January 22: Anti-AFSPA, 1958 crusader Irom Chanu Sharmila was released from judicial custody after the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Imphal East quashed charges against her of attempted suicide under section 309 of the Indian Penal Code.

All the cases against Sharmila were dismissed by the JMIC Imphal East, Wisdom Kamodang as there were no prima facie evidences to convict the human rights crusader under the relevant section of the IPC on charges of attempted suicide.

Charges against her under Section 353 of the Indian penal Code for allegedly stopping a public servant from performing his duty have also been dismissed.

Talking to the media after her release, the 42 year old human rights crusader said even if she has been released after the government failed to show evidence of the charges against her of attempted suicide under section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, she will continue her fast until AFSPA is repealed.

She said her agitation is for the people but she would not like her agitation to be orchestrated by some people. She added that she would continue her fast at Samu Makhong, Kwairamband Bazar.

At around 6 pm this evening, she was released from the makeshift jail set up in the JNIMS security ward since November 2000 where she had been nose-fed under strict surveillance thrice a day.

She walked out of the JNIMS complex with members of Shamila Kanba Lup (SAKAL) but boarded an auto-rickshaw to Samu Makhong escorted by Porompat OC Chandrakumar and his team instead of going to the temporary shed at Porompat set up by members of SAKAL.

As for now, Sharmila has positioned herself near the base of Samu Makhong to continue her fast unto death agitation against the draconian Act. A source said she is being medically examined by a team of medical officers led by Chief Medical Officer, Imphal West.

On August 19 last year, a court had dismissed similar charges against the activist and ordered that she should be released from custody. The court had also observed that the Manipur government and the police had failed to demonstrate that Sharmila had intended to commit suicide through fasting.

Just three days after her release, the State Police had re-arrested Irom Sharmila and charged her with another case of attempted suicide then.

A weary Sharmila is quoted as saying to the judge today, “I am tired of this cycle of release and re-arrest. Please put my case to trial once and for all. Let the case be decided”.

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