Irom Sharmila Refuses to Accept Award Until the Government Repeals AFSPA


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Forty years old activist, writer and poet Irom Sharmila Chanu known as “the Iron Lady of Manipur” has been on a hunger strike for the past 12 years, since November 2, 2000 asking the Indian government to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.

On October 9th, at the premises of a local courthouse in Imphal, in the state of Manipur, India, activist Irom Sharmila categorically asserted that until the government abandons the military act, she would accept not accept any award or reward from any individual person or organization.

On Saturday, October 27, at a function organized in Kolkata, the Kerala-based Kovilan Trust decided to confer the first Kovilan Smaraka Activist India National Award in memory of Malayalam poet A.A. Ayyappan upon Ms. Sharmila. However, Irom Sighajit Singh, the elder brother of Sharmila and a trustee of the Just Peace Foundation, a trust set up for her cause, who attended the function, returned the award and asked the organizers to present it to his sister when she achieves her goal.

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