NEW DELHI: Manipuri rights activist Irom Sharmila was today acquitted by a Delhi court in a 2006 case of attempt to suicide when she was undertaking a fast until death at Jantar Mantar here.
Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh let off 42-year- old Sharmila, who is on a fast for the last 16 years in Manipur demanding repeal of AFSPA. She was put on trial on March 4, 2013, for allegedly trying to commit suicide while undertaking fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar on October 4, 2006. She had yesterday told the court that she was ready to end her fast if the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) was repealed and expressed her desire to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the issue.
Sharmila, who is fed through a nasal tube, was put on trial after she refused to plead guilty to the charge of attempting to commit suicide (section 309 of IPC). During final arguments yesterday, the prosecutor had contended that Sharmila had the intention to kill herself and the offence of trying to commit suicide was clearly made out against her.
During the hearing, the activist had said she loved her life and was using her fast as a weapon to achieve her goal of repealing AFSPA as it would have "more impact" and added that this was "not a crime".
"Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, had resorted to fasts while making certain demands," she said yesterday while justifying her fast. Sharmila also said, "Since there is no meaning of true democracy in the country, human rights activists should join hands. The matter should be brought to the attention of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations."
She had earlier told the court that she was very much eager to eat if she got the assurance that the "draconian" law will be revoked. Widespread discrimination was being done with the people from Northeast, she had alleged, adding she never intended to commit suicide and it was just a protest against AFSPA.
Known as the 'Iron Lady', Sharmila had earlier told the court that her protest was non-violent.