Why radicals have threatened to kill Irom Sharmila

A radical organisation in Manipur has threatened Irom Sharmila if went ahead with her decision to contest elections and marry an outsider, reports The Hindustan Times.

The secessionist group ‘Alliance for Socialist Unity Kangleipak’ said that “some former revolutionary leaders were assassinated” after moving away from the cause and participating in public life. “All those who joined electoral politics did so knowing well that it was a dead-end,” ASUK chairman N Oken and vice-chairman Ksh Lab Meitei said in a statement on Wednesday.

The group demands sovereign Manipur. Two other secessionist groups too have asked Sharmila to continue the fast.

Forty-four-year-old Sharmila, announced last month that she will be breaking her 16-year-old fast against the imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. Speaking to reporters at the Imphal High Court, Irom announced that she will give up her fast on August 9, and will contest in the upcoming Manipur elections.

She also said that she would marry her fiance, writer and activist Desmond Coutinho, a British citizen of Goan origin. In an interview to The Telegraph in 2011, Irom said that while she was in love, her supporters were against the idea of her getting married.

Irom says in the interview that Desmond’s letters and thoughts made her fall for him and she has carefully kept them in a box by her bedside. Eventually, the two got engaged. After her announcement to end her fast on July 26, 2016, Irom expressed her desire to get married after coming out of prison on August 9.

Irom decided to not eat a morsel of food further after a contingent of the Assam Rifles gunned down 10 civilians in a bus stop at Malom in 2000. Her demand was that AFSPA, a draconian rule that allows for the Indian army to have punitive powers, be taken out of Manipur.

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