GUWAHATI: Three days after rights activist Irom Sharmila ended her 16-year fast on Tuesday, another woman, Robita Leima Arambam, sat on an “indefinite” hunger strike in Imphal on Saturday demanding the repeal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).
Thirty-two-year-old Robita, who is an activist and mother of two children, started the fast at her office “Women against Crime” to show her respect to Sharmila for her epic fight demanding the repeal of the controversial Act.
Prior to beginning the fast, Robita visited the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) to seek Sharmila’s blessings but she was denied entry into her ward.
“She didn’t obtain permission from JNIMS authorities and as such, the security personnel, deployed there, didn’t allow her to enter the hospital block where Sharmila is lodged,” Sharmila’s brother Irom Singhajit told Express.
Later, he said, Robita went back and started the fast at her office in Imphal. “I was told that she was being guarded by a group of women,” Singhajit added.
Apart from the repeal of AFSPA, Robita also demands the implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP) system in Manipur. There have been violent protests in the state for the past two years to implement ILP. If implemented, it will be mandatory for outsiders to carry the permit to be able to enter the state.
On Friday, leaders of various women organisations requested Robita not to embark on the fast. They appealed to her to think about her two children, aged 10 years and four years.
“Before starting the fast, I will meet Sharmila and seek her blessings. I admire and honour her sacrifices,” Robita had said on Friday.