Sharmila leaves hospital, her home for 16 yrs

Sharmila leaves hospital, her home for 16 yrs

Manipur’s human rights crusader Irom Sharmila Chanu on Saturday left the special ward of an Imphal hospital where she stayed for the duration of her fast in the last 16 years.

Sharmila remained under arrest in the ward and had been force fed. She had to remain at the hospital after her release on bail, when she announced she was ending her fast.

On Saturday morning, Sharmila packed off and left the special security ward of the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) for a nature cure retreat  at Langol area in Suburban Imphal. Sharmila was accompanied by some of the volunteers from different human rights groups who had been taking care of her ever since she was released on bail.

After leaving the hospital, Sharmila visited the Kangla fort complex in Imphal and prayed at several temples in the complex. “I am able to leave the hospital after 16 years. This marks the beginning of the new phase of my movement against AFSPA which will be largely political,” Sharmila told reporters at Imphal.

“For a few days I will stay at the naturopathy centre. I will meditate there. Once my important documents are procured, I will travel to other places campaigning against AFSPA. I will travel to Ukhrul district soon. I also want to open an office for myself in Imphal” she added.

Meanwhile, the Manipur Police sources said adequate security would be provided to Sharmila in all the places she visits. Sharmila has to appear at an Imphal court on September 5.

Sharmila also met members of meira paibis ( Manipuri women groups)  of Keisamthong Laishom Leikai locality where she was met with protests when she visited the place on August 9. On Saturday, the meira paibis member welcomed her and expressed their regret over their behaviour towards her when she was released on bail on August 9.

Sharmila would join a mass campaign against AFSPA organized by the North East Forum of International Solidarity (NEFIS) followed by a global peace meet in Punjab attended by youngsters from over 30 countries.­

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