Irom Sharmila, the iconic activist who didn’t eat for 16 years in protest against alleged army atrocities in Manipur, burst into tears on Tuesday as she licked honey from her palm to end her fast. In 2000, the death of 10 people in firing by security forces drove Sharmila to launch a hunger strike to push for the removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act or AFSPA that gives the army sweeping emergency powers to search, enter property and shoot on sight.
Taking the first in a series of steps towards a new life that will include politics and marriage, Sharmia said: “I am not a goddess. I am going to contest Manipur election next year as an independent candidate; I want to be Chief Minister of Manipur.
“I am being seen as a strange woman. Why can’t people see me as an ordinary person? I am cut off from everyone,” she said.