The world knows her but Sharmila faces an 'identity' crisis

The world knows her as the face of the movement against “draconian” Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) but Manipur’s “Iron Lady” Irom Sharmila is facing an identity crisis.

Published: 23rd August 2016 07:51 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd August 2016 08:53 PM   |  A+A-


Irom Sharmila, center, walks out of a security ward after her release in Porompal district, in Imphal on Wednesday | AP

GUWAHATI: The world knows her as the face of the movement against “draconian” Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) but Manipur’s “Iron Lady” Irom Sharmila is facing an identity crisis.

The rights activist does not have any legal document to prove that she is an Indian.

She does not possess the voter ID, PAN card, bank account etc, required to contest elections among others. Days before ending her 16-year fast, she had announced that she would contest next year’s Manipur elections.

“For me, the biggest challenge now is to get the documents. I’m getting invites from across the country. People want me to take the fight against AFSPA far and wide. As I will have to travel outside Manipur to meet people, I am in urgent need of the documents,” Sharmila told reporters outside the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Manipur capital Imphal on Tuesday.

Her brother, Irom Singhajit, reconfirmed that the activist’s name was not in the voter list.

“Her name is not there in the voter list. She doesn’t have PAN card, Aadhar card or any other document to prove she is an Indian. Some women supporters are with her (at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal where she is lodged) and I think they will take care of it,” he said.

On August 9, Sharmila was granted bail by the court on a PR bond. That evening, she had ended her marathon fast.

The activist was produced in the court on Tuesday in connection with cross-examination of witnesses. Singhajit said the “final hearing” in the case would take place on September 5. During the years of her movement, Sharmila was arrested and then rearrested several times on the charge of attempt to commit suicide for going ahead with her fast.

“She requested the court for withdrawal of her police security on the ground that she is out on bail. The court fixed the next hearing on September 5. On that day, the court is likely to pronounce the judgement in the case,” Sharmila’s counsel L Rebeda Devi said.

The activist also requested the court to dispose of the case against her as she had already ended her fast.

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