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Activist Irom Sharmila ends her 16-year-long fast, wants to become Manipur CM

Sharmila has been appealing to all sections of the people to support her cause. But except for some reporters, there is nobody to meet her when she goes to the court every 15 days.

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Irom Sharmila. Image source: www.freeshareknowshare.com
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On Tuesday, August 9, Irom Sharmila Manipuri activist ended her 16-year-long fast against the imposition of the “draconian” in her state AFSPA announced that she wants to join politics and become Chief Minister.

Sharmila, who has been on fast unto death since 2000 to demand the lifting of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Manipur, got emotional as she licked some honey to mark the ending of her fast.

Irom Chanu Sharmila, Wikimedia Commons
Irom Chanu Sharmila, Image source:  Wikimedia Commons

Earlier, doctors removed the nasal feeding tube that was used to force feed her.

Speaking to reporters, including from the foreign media, Sharmila said: “I will never forget this moment.”

She said she will use everything in her power to create a positive society and the “foremost will be the removal of this draconian (AFSPA) law”. The AFSPA gives sweeping powers to security forces.

“I want to be the CM of Manipur to help the people,” she said.

Asked to comment on the ongoing protests in Jammu and Kashmir, Sharmila said “Let the Kashmiris have the right of self-determination”.

Asked where she will stay now, Sharmila said she will stay in an ashram. She has been living at the J.N. Institute of Medical Sciences for the last 16 years where she was being fed through a nasal tube.

Her mother Sakhi has refused to meet her while her elder brother I. Shinghajit, in an open letter, made an impassioned appeal to her to continue the fast.

Sharmila said she will see her mother only after AFSPA has been repealed from her state.

Earlier, Sharmila told a court that she wants to end her fast. She was released on bail on Tuesday by L. Tonsing, chief judicial magistrate, Imphal west, where she was produced. She also signed a bond for Rs 10,000.

She told newspersons that she will contest the 2017 assembly elections from Khurai Assembly constituency as an independent.

Reports say that some local and national parties have sent feelers to her. She has not responded yet.

Doctors are not allowing her to eat normal solid food immediately. One doctor said: “As she has been staying away from normal solid food for over 16 years, we have to take a step by step approach. It will take some days for her to resume normal food.”

It was announced that Sharmila will stay in the hospital for the next three days under medical supervision. During the time, she will be administered solid food gradually and her health closely monitored.

Sharmila began her hunger strike in November 2000 following the killing of 10 civilians by security forces.

She was arrested by the Manipur government the same year on charges of attempting to commit suicide.

She has always denied the charge, saying she is using the fast as a weapon.

As the prosecution failed to prove that she was trying to kill herself, the Chief Judicial Magistrate had ordered on February 29, 2016, that she be freed.

She was rearrested on the same charge as she continued the fast.

Sharmila has been appealing to all sections of the people to support her cause. But except for some reporters, there is nobody to meet her when she goes to the court every 15 days. (IANS)

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  • AJ Krish

    If sixteen years of protest against the government didn’t work, then join the system and change the laws from within.

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Is UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath losing his shine?

His failure to deliver on his promise to get all pot-holed roads fixed by a given deadline last year; the rollback -- under pressure -- in privatisation of the power sector in five cities

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Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath. IANS

Is Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath — in power for just over a year — fast losing his lustre?

Many here feel so.

A litany of complaints about his public conduct, his behaviour with colleagues as well as common people is fast eroding the aura he had built up as the five-time Lok Sabha MP from Gorakhpur who was catapulted to the Chief Minister’s office of a socially diverse and politically volatile state of 220 million people.

Adityanath Yogi is known for his aggression and excellent oratory skills.
Adityanath Yogi is known for his aggression and excellent oratory skills.

Last week, 24-year-old Ayush Bansal shocked many when he broke down in front of media in Gorakhpur and disclosed how the monk-turned-Chief Minister mocked him during a “junta darbaar” where he had gone to complain about a land-grab case in which independent legislator from Nautanwa, Amanmani Tripathi, was involved.

He also accused the Chief Minister of calling him “awaraa” (wayward) and pushing him while throwing his file in the air. “Maharaj ji angrily snapped at me and said my work will never be done and that I should get out of his sight,” Bansal told IANS.

While officials got down to damage control and said the matter was being looked into, the fact that Adityanath behaved in a manner unbecoming of a Chief Minister was neither contradicted by officials nor denied by the ruling party.

Barely had the din over this episode died down when two MPs of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) complained of similar behaviour. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP MP from Robertsganj Chhote Lal Kharwar, accused Adityanath of “scolding him and asking him to get out”. The MP said he was deeply pained at the behavior of the Chief Minister as he tried to draw his attention to issues faced by the party faithful.

Ayodhya
In the picture, Yogi Adityanath addressing a rally at Raipur. Wikimedia Commons

“Never did the local administration listen to my plaints and when I went to meet the Chief Minister twice over many issues, ‘unhone mujhe daantkar bhaga diya’ (he scolded me and chased me away),” the lawmaker said in his letter.

The BJP leader has also shot off a letter to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, seeking help. Lal also says that definite proof of wrong-doing and corruption presented by him went unheard and unaddressed. What is surprising is that all this happened to a man who is the state president of the BJP’s SC/ST Morcha.

While Modi is learnt to have assured Lal of action, there are other similar murmurs about Adityanath’s rough behaviour. Etawah MP Ashok Dohre has also written to Modi accusing the state police of lodging fake cases against SCs and STs during the Bharat Bandh. When asked why he did not petition the Chief Minister, Dohre said he considered Modi his leader, and thus petitioned him.

Also Read: Little Known Facts About U.P. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath

Alarmed by the sudden “unease” among the party’s lawmakers, Amit Shah summoned Yogi to New Delhi over the weekend and is learnt to have asked him to mend his ways. Adityanth also met Modi. Interestingly, Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who party insiders admit doesn’t see eye to eye with Yogi, was also called to Delhi at the same time.

Ironically, till not long ago, the 45-year-old Chief Minister was being venerated by the party faithful as a man next only to Modi. Insiders, however, now admit that not only has Adityanath failed to show his “pakad” (hold) on the party, but is also “awkwardly arrogant in his public conduct”, and not very able in his administration.

“He may be a busy man, so have been his predecessors… he remains inaccessible and uses foul and unacceptable language at times,” conceded a senior minister who did not wish to be named. Though stopping short of calling the Chief Minister arrogant, he suggested that “Yogi-ji is better advised to be more courteous and improve his time management”.

A senior party functionary too noted “the changing ways of Maharaj-ji”, though he felt “mood swings and the tongue-lashings could be because he has to handle a big state like Uttar Pradesh”.

Yogi Adityanath
Yogi Adityanath is losing his shine. (IANS)

A senior bureaucrat also alleged that the Chief Minister often “goes off the handle” and could be very acerbic in his dealing with officials. The Chief Minister’s loyalists, however, point out that he does not like people to hang around him and wants officials to deliver fast and work within the system that has been set up. When there is any breach, he loses his temper, a close aide told IANS.

His failure to deliver on his promise to get all pot-holed roads fixed by a given deadline last year; the rollback — under pressure — in privatisation of the power sector in five cities; the poor showing in the Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha by-polls and reports that he and his deputy, Keshav Prasad Maurya, don’t get along well have already rung alarm bells in the establishment, sources said. IANS