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Suicide bid case false, Irom Sharmila tells court

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New Delhi:  Civil rights activist Irom Sharmila, accused of a suicide bid during her fast-unto-death protest in 2006, told a court here on Tuesday she was implicated in a false case because of worldwide media attention to her struggle.

“My struggle was attaining (attention) in national and international media and because of that police violated my fundamental right and forcibly removed me from Jantar Mantar (Delhi) and implicated me in the present false case,” Sharmila, the civil rights activist from Manipur, told Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain.

She said thousands of innocent people have been killed by the armed forces and hundreds of rapes occurred in Manipur. “I have been demanding the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) be repealed or be lifted from Manipur as it has caused immense hardship to common man of Manipur.”

She added that no action has been taken against such things under the garb of the AFSPA.

While recording her statement as an accused in the case, Sharmila claimed to have been implicated in a false and fabricated case, saying prosecution witnesses are “interested witnesses”.

“It is correct that I sat on fast at Jantar Mantar on October 4, 2006, but I have been fasting since 2000 and the same has not affected my health. I never refused medical check-up as same was not required,” she said.

Sharmila has been on a fast for about 15 years, seeking repeal of the AFSPA. The court on March 4, 2013, framed charges against Sharmila for attempting to commit suicide in Delhi, and put her on trial after she refused to plead guilty of the offence.

Sharmila denied having attempted suicide while fasting at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.

The court on June 6 concluded the recording of statements of prosecution witnesses in the case.

(IANS)

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Story Behind Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday Becoming a Holiday

On Jan. 20, 1986 — The first national celebration of the King Holiday takes place

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The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, (VOA)

The effort to honor civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. with a federal holiday began four days after his assassination on April 4, 1968. However, it took more than 15 years for that to happen.

April 8, 1968 — Four days after King is assassinated, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., introduces the first legislation proposing a federal holiday for Martin Luther King Jr.

1973-1979 — Several states enact statewide King holidays, including Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey.

Feb. 19, 1979 — After 10 years of petitions from millions of Americans, Washington lawmakers hold an official hearing to discuss the idea. King’s wife, Coretta Scott, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The effort to honor civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. with a federal holiday began four days after his assassination

November 1979 — Legislation for the holiday is defeated in a floor vote in the U.S. House of Representatives by five votes.

January 1981 — Singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder releases “Happy Birthday,” a song that becomes a rallying cry for the pro-holiday movement.

1982 — Coretta Scott King, along with Stevie Wonder, presents a petition signed by 6 million people to House Speaker Tip O’Neill.

Aug. 27, 1983 — More than 500,000 people attend a 20th Anniversary March on Washington to honor King and the civil rights movement. Speaker after speaker calls for a federal holiday on King’s birthday.

Martin Luther King Jr
More than 500,000 people attend a 20th Anniversary March on Washington to honor King and the civil rights movement (VOA)

August 1983 — The U.S. House of Representatives passes the King Holiday Bill, 338-90.

Oct. 19, 1983 — The King Holiday Bill passes the Senate, 78-22.

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Nov. 3, 1983 — President Ronald Reagan signs the bill into law, declaring the third Monday in January the Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday.

Jan. 20, 1986 — The first national celebration of the King Holiday takes place. (VOA)