DINDIGUL: Civil Rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila of Imphal married British citizen Desmond Coutinho at a quiet ceremony in the sub-registrar office, Kodaikanal, on Thursday. Kodaikanal town was busy since morning, thanks to the special event. Irom and Desmond walked to the sub-registrar’s office from her house near the Observatory.
They reached the venue at 10.50 am. Irom submitted her marriage declaration form at the office. However, the ceremony was slightly delayed because Desmond failed to produce his original passport. After he brought the passport in original and submitted all other documents required by the sub-registrar M Radhakrishnan, the couple inked their commitment to each other in the marriage register.
The two then garlanded each other and exchanged rings in the presence of the officials at the sub-registrar’s office. The district police had arranged for tight security. It may be recalled that a day after Sharmila filed an application before the sub-registrar office seeking permission to marry Desmond, Mahendran of Pethuparai and two organisations had registered objectio. Later, the sub-registrar’s office conducted an inquiry and questioned Mahindran. They then cancelled his petition stating that there was no strong reason to stop the marriage.
Divya, the director of short film Kakkoos and Leelavathi, president of Palani Hill Adhivasikal Koottamaippu, were among those present.
Hailed, stoned, and now at a new beginning
Called the ‘iron lady’, the 44-year-old activist had shot to fame after launching an indefinite fast on November 4, 2000, demanding withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 from Manipur.
Sharmila had moved to this hill town with Coutinho following her defeat in the Manipur Assembly elections in March
The wedding was objected to by a local activist VMahendran, who contended that if the couple stayed in the hills, tribals would face law and order problems.
A group of tribals had submitted a memo to the Sub-Registrar in support of the wedding.