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Defiant Irom Sharmila charged for attempting suicide

Last updated on: March 04, 2013 14:05 IST

A Delhi court on Monday framed charges against Irom Sharmila Chanu, who has been on fast for about 12 years demanding repeal of controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act, for allegedly attempting to commit suicide during her 'fast until death' in the national capital in 2006.

Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain framed charges against 40-year-old Chanu under section 309 (attempting to commit suicide) of the IPC after she refused to plead guilty, saying that her protest was non-violent.

Putting her on trial, the court has now listed the matter for May 22 for recording of prosecution evidence in the case relating to her fast until death which started on October 4, 2006 at Jantar Mantar demanding revocation of AFSPA.

Amid protest outside the court premises, Chanu appeared before the judge and said, "I do not want to commit suicide. Mine is only a non-violent protest. It is my demand to live as a human being."

She also told the court, "I love life. I do not want to take my life but I want justice and peace".

The magistrate, however, told her that she has been accused of attempting to commit suicide and prima facie the charge is there against her.

On being asked by the court "Do you plead guilty," Chanu said no and claimed trial.

"I respect you but the law of the land does not permit you to take your life," the judge said, asking her counsel to make her understand the process.

Even after discussions with her counsel, Chanu said, "If the AFSPA will be repealed by the government only then I will take food and will throw the food pipe (through which she is fed).”

The court, however, told her, "This is a political process. Here I am concerned with this case only."

Chanu had launched her fast unto death in 2000 after 10 civilians were killed by Assam Rifles personnel at Malom area near Imphal airport.

She is now in judicial custody and is being fed through her nose.

Chanu was flown in from Manipur on Sunday evening for the court proceedings.

Her lawyer told the court that her client has been protesting for the last 12 years in the most non-violent way like Mahatma Gandhi.

The lawyer said she is fasting for the people of Manipur as they are being "neglected" by the government.

Citing her medical condition, the lawyer requested the judge that she should not be asked to appear in court again and again.

The lawyer also said that she has already undergone the one year sentence which is the maximum sentence for the offence under section 309 of the IPC under which she has been charged.

She had earlier said she was confident that the government will listen to her and concede to her demand to revoke AFSPA.