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Sharmila begins life out of hospital

IMPHAL (CNS): Irom Chanu Sharmila, who ended her 16-year-long fast against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act a fortnight ago, began her life outside hospital today.

The 44-year-old human rights crusader, who broke her fast on August 9, said that she would fight elections to continue her campaign against AFSPA that gives virtual immunity to security personnel to raid, arrest and kill people, and is seen as a cover for human rights abuse by critics.

Now she is staying at the picturesque Yoga and Naturopathy Spa centre at the foothill of Langol hill range, about six km west of JNIMS hospital where she was kept for health reasons since August 9 as doctors are monitoring her diet since her digestive system had been inactive for 16 years.

The hospital authority officially discharged her this morning. “But we do not know how long she will be staying here”, according to a friend and supporter of Sharmila.

In an earlier interview, Sharmila told reporters that she will be staying at the centre for about three-four days before moving to Ukhrul (Manipur), a hill town, about 84 km from Imphal for the public campaign against AFSPA.

The ‘Iron Lady of Manipur’ accompanied by her supporters, mostly youths, drove straight to the historic Kangla fort in Imphal for a brief prayer session and attended a reception at Keishamthong area where she was turned away by the residents a fortnight ago due to “some misunderstanding.”

Responding to the warm welcome by the residents mostly womenfolk and women voluntary organisation functionaries, Sharmila said, “I think one should start changing first, if we really want to bring a change. So I hope the people will understand and extend cooperation.”

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