Irom's new battle: proving she is a bona fide citizen

Irom's new battle: proving she is a bona fide citizen

Irom's new battle: proving she is a bona fide citizen

Manipur’s human rights activist Irom Sharmila now faces a new battle ahead of the 2017 Assembly polls—procuring official documents to prove that she is a bona fide citizen of India.

During her 16-year fast, Irom was under arrest and was force-fed through her nose at a special ward at a government hospital in Imphal. Due to this, she was cut off from the rest of the world and could not get any of the necessary paper work done.

Irom does not have a passport, PAN card or Aadhaar card, nor does she have a bank account.

“Getting these documents has become my biggest challenge. I need to have them because now I am getting invites from across the country. People want me to come and make the fight against Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) a global campaign. For that, I will have to travel and meet people,” Sharmila told reporters in Imphal on Tuesday when she was brought to a local court for the regular trial.

“I want to travel to Delhi where I have been invited for a national-level solidarity meet on my new strategy to fight AFSPA after I gave up my fast. I have also another invite from Punjab where youth from 30 countries are gathering,” Sharmila added.

A very close aide, who did not want to be named, said: “She has been under arrest for 16 years and all her fundamental rights as a citizen of India were curbed. Now these documents will be needed since she wants to contest election. We fear the government might not cooperate with her in issuing these documents.”

In the court, cross-examination of witnesses took place and as usual, Irom did not plead guilty.

“She also requested the court to remove the security cover since she is out on bail. The court has notified September 5 as the final date of hearing after which the court might pronounce its judgement,” said Irom’s court-appointed legal counsel L Rebeda Devi. Irom had also requested the court to dispose off the case against her as she has ended the fast.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox