GUWAHATI: Manipur’s marathon hunger striker and activist Irom Sharmila left the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal on Saturday.
The activist, who ended her fast on August 9, had spent the last 16 years of her life and movement at a ward of the hospital, which was virtually turned into a jail for her.
According to her supporters, Sharmila will spend a few days at an ISKON-run ashram located on the outskirts of Imphal.
They said she had expressed her desire to visit the Naga-majority Ukhrul district where a strong public mood is building against the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) which the activist is fighting against.
Sharmila will also attend the six-day Global Youth Peace Festival to be held in Chandigarh from September 27. Later, she would visit places outside Manipur to drum up people’s support for her campaign.
After leaving the hospital on Saturday, Sharmila told reporters that the second chapter of her fight had started.
When asked about her preparations for next year’s Manipur elections, the activist asserted that she was all set for it.
Last month, Sharmila had announced that she would end her fast, get married and contest the polls much to the chagrin of many in Manipur. Her decision enraged people so much that they protested her presence in two localities which she had visited after ending her fast, forcing the police to take her back to the hospital.
Sharmila is the face of the movement against AFSPA and as such, people were worried that her decision to end the fast would ruin the movement.
But gradually they started embracing her and this was evident on August 23 when a large number of them greeted her during her production in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Imphal.