Imphal: Breaking into tears, Manipur's 'Iron Lady' Irom Sharmila today ended her 16-year-long hunger strike, the world's longest such campaign, and declared that she wants to become the chief minister so that she could repeal the contentious AFSPA.
Outside a government hospital, a room of which was turned into a jail for her, the 44-year-old iconic rights activist turned emotional as she licked honey from her palm to end the fast that she undertook in protest against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act(AFSPA).
During her fast she was force-fed through a nasal tube to keep her alive. Now the familiar Ryles tube hanging from her nose was missing as she broke the fast.
"I want to be the chief minister of Manipur to make positive changes..... If I become chief minister, the first thing I will do is to remove the AFSPA," she told reporters here.
"I need power. In Manipur politics is so dirty and everyone knows it. But people don't realise that the people are also involved in this dirtiness," Sharmila said, adding "I want to invite 20 independent candidates to join me and topple Chief Minister Ibobi".
Asked about Narendra Modi, she said, "Mr Prime Minister, you need non-violence in this age. Without this draconian law(AFSPA) you would be able to connect with us. PM Modi needs to follow the path of non-violence of Gandhiji".
She said that she would now stay in an Ashram and wouldn't need any security. "I don't like to be called a Goddess of Manipur. I am a human being," she said.
Earlier in the day, Imphal West district's chief judicial magistrate Lamkhanpau Tonsing in his order said as the offence under section 309 (attempt to suicide) is a bailable offence he is inclined to allow her on bail on her furnishing a personal bond of Rs 10,000.
After the bond was furnished, it was accepted by the court and a release order issued.
She has been asked to appear before the court again on August 23.