IMPHAL, May 9: “Why is Sharmila charged with attempt to commit suicide?” queried advocate Khaidem Mani today after announcing that he will be representing the anti-AFSPA crusader as her counsel in her court cases.
He was speaking to the media while accompanying Sharmila from inside the courtroom of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal East, where she was produced today.
He said, “Sharmila is refusing food demanding repeal of AFSPA, and her act cannot be deemed as an attempt to commit suicide.”
Sharmila has only been refusing to eat food demanding repeal of the Act and to allow the people to live peacefully under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, he elaborated.
The advocate said, the State has charged Sharmila with Under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, which is “attempt to commit suicide,” and jailed her since 2000.
However, there has been no formal hearing of her case, he said and added Sharmila has been charged under the same offence on multiple counts.
Article 20 (2) of the Constitution says that no person should be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once, he said before adding that a charge-sheet has been framed against Sharmila by the Porompat Police Under Section 309 IPC.
Formal charge hearing on the case will begin on May 13, he asserted while exuding confidence of winning the case.
Meanwhile, Sharmila said she wish the support she is gaining from the public for her movement to be a success woudl not be in vain.
Sharmila said her fast is not to kill herself, and added that if she ever wanted to commit suicide there are several ways by which she could do so.
Fasting is only a weapon to address my demand, she said.
She further lamented that there are several others who have been making demands through non-violent means, however, none of them have been arrested by the government; whereas, she has been in jail for the past more than 13 years.
Sharmila has been forcibly nose-fed by the authorities for the past 13 years and is presently lodged at the security ward of the Jawaharhal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences, Porompat.