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Delhi court charges Manipur activist Irom Sharmila for attempted suicide

 A Delhi court on Monday framed charges against Irom Sharmila Chanu, who has been on fast for about 12 years demanding repeal of controversial AFSPA, for allegedly attempting to commit suicide during her 'fast until death' here in 2006.

Metropolitan Magistrate (MM) 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's was a non-violent protest.

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 here demanding revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

Irom Sharmila
Irom Sharmila told the court: "I do not want to commit suicide. Mine is only a non-violent protest. It is my demand to live as a human being."

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Even after discussions with her counsel, Chanu said, "If AFSPA will be repealed by the government then only I will take food and will throw the food pipe" through which she is fed.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

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