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Woman on hunger strike charged with attempt to commit suicide

By Mason White 8:29 AM March 5, 2013
Irom Sharmila 

By: Eva Fett
(Scroll down for video) A woman was arrested and charged with attempting to commit suicide after she went on a hunger strike in order to protest government killings of civilians, according to court proceedings in India.

Activist Irom Sharmila, a woman of northeast India, who has been force-fed for the last 12 years, was flown to Delhi so a judge could charge her with attempting suicide.

“I do not want to commit suicide. My hunger strike is only a measure of a nonviolent protest,” the activist told the judge, according to a local newspaper report. “It is my wish to live like a human being. I love life. I do not want to take my life, but I want justice and peace,” the activist told the judge at the hearing.

The activist known as the Iron Lady of Manipur, launched her fast in November 2000 to protest the killing of a group of civilians by paramilitary forces and to demand the repeal of legislation that provides effective immunity to soldiers. Since then, she has refused to eat, drink or even brush her teeth.

After refusing to end her fast untill the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is canceled, she has been repeatedly arrested and fed twice a day with a tube attached to her nose. In 2006, she took her protest to Delhi, where she was arrested by police and charged under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, which does not allow a person to attempt suicide.

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