Hundreds of supporters of 'Iron Lady' Irom Sharmila, whose indefinite hunger-strike for repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act entered 11 years on Saturday, fasted in Imphal and across the country.
"Hundreds of people from all walks of life came here to support our cause, observe a token fast and help Sharmila in her fight," Just Peace Foundation's Onil Kshetrimayum told mediapersons as protesters fasted from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm at 25 venues in Imphal and the districts of Manipur.
The 39-year-old civil rights activist elder brother Irom Singhajit led the mass fast here.
Student bodies All Manipur Students Union and civil society groups like Sharmila Kanba Lup, Meira Paibi, senior citizen groups, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, and those affected by the alleged atrocities of the army, joined the hunger-strike.
Leaders from the Manipur Peoples Party also lent support.
he Ima Market in the heart of the town and the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences, where Sharmila is forcibly nose-fed were among the venues of the mass fast.
The 'Save Democracy Repeal AFSPA' group observed fast in other parts of the country also, said civil rights activist Seram Rojesh Kumar. In Delhi, a day-long fast was held as also a discussion.
Street theatre on democracy and AFSPA, music poetry recitals by amateur social-artists were held. 'Tales from the Margin', a touching documentary by Kavita Joshi on the issue was screened.
Cities like Bangalore, Varanasi, Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chandigarh, Pune and Patna also joined in to express solidarity with Sharmila.