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Irom Sharmila Birthday Special: Know Interesting Facts About Manipur’s Iron Lady Who Protested Against AFSPA For 16 Years


Irom Sharmila (Photo Credits: Wikimedia)

Irom Sharmila, popularly known as Iron Lady of Manipur, turns 48 today. On her birthday, LatestLY brings interesting facts about life and struggle of Irom Sharmila who protested by fasting for as many as 16 years against the imposition of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Manipur. The “world’s longest” hunger strike earned her the title of “Iron Lady”. On her birthday, check out facts about Irom Sharmila below. Irom Sharmila, Manipur’s ‘Iron Lady’, Gives Birth to Twins on Mother’s Day.

  1. Irom Sharmila was born on March 14, 1972, in Kongpal village of Manipur.
  2. An average student in school, Sharmila never had academic ambitions. She completed her schooling only till class 11.
  3. Sharmila believed that the only thing worthy to be learned is to read and write. Therefore, she enrolled in a journalism course.
  4. After completing the course in the early ’90s, she began writing poetry.
  5. On November 5, 2000, Sharmila began her indefinite hunger strike to protest the imposition of AFSPA in Manipur.
  6. As many as 10 civilians waiting at a bus stop were killed in the alleged unprovoked military action in Malom. The killings compelled Sharmila to sit on fast unto death.
  7. During the hunger strike, she did not eat, drink and even comb her hair. Essentials, however, were supplied to her body through a nasal tube.
  8. Sharmila was arrested and released – and the cycle continued – for innumerable times as the police charged her under “attempt to commit suicide”.
  9. Even though she failed to achieve its ultimate goal, her resolve drew the attention of local and international governments and organisations towards the alleged excesses being committed.
  10. In 2016, the activist decided to end her 16-year-old hunger strike, and decided to enter electoral politics to expedite her movement seeking the revocation of AFSPA.
  11. She launched a new party – People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA), and contested against the then Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh from Thoubal seat in the 2017 assembly elections.
  12. Her political stint did not last long, as Sharmila suffered a crushing defeat. She polled only 90 votes — lowest among the five candidates in fray from the constituency.
  13. Following the debut debacle, an emotional Sharmila decided to quit politics.

While Irom Sharmila could not force the government to revoke AFSPA and failed to gain public support during polls despite the 16 years of inhumane suffering borne by her, her consistent fight made her a national icon.