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Irom Sharmila wishes to meet Narendra Modi

IMPHAL (IANS): Irom Sharmila, who has been campaigning against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958, by undertaking “fast unto death”, wants to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi while visiting Delhi. 

Sharmila expressed her desire while interacting with a handful of reporters when she was presented before a court in the Manipur capital on Tuesday.

She is to appear before the Patiala House court on March 29 and 30 in connection with a case under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code (attempt to commit suicide).

She said: “I want to tell the prime minister that only talks could solve all the burning problems. Besides, I want to highlight the objectionable policies of the Indian government.”

On October 6 and 7, 2006, Sharmila carried on her fasting at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, and police registered a case for which she has to appear before the Patiala House district court every now and then.

On two occasions, she could not appear before the court as there were no funds for the travel of Sharmila and her entourage which includes medical, police and prison staff.

During her last visit to Delhi also, she had expressed her desire to meet the prime minister. Themeeting, however, did not come off, and she returned to Imphal, Manipur.

Official indications are that there may not be a positive response from the Prime Minister’s Office to her desire.

First, there has been no formal request from her. Secondly, the prime minister may not be ready to discuss the demand she is likely to put up.

Thirdly, Sharmila herself has admitted that she has lost considerable ground and virtually there is no supporter at the court complex except for some reporters.

In fact, she has been thinking of a public debate on whether people still want the AFSPA and if she should stop the campaign against the act that absolves armed forces personnel of any criminal responsibility for damages to property or for loss of limb and life during anti-insurgency operations in an area.

The contradictory stand of the people has also puzzled officials.

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