Srinagar: The Amnesty International on Wednesday said that the re-arrest of Irom Sharmila by the Manipur police on the charge of attempting suicide, two days after a Manipur court acquitted her of an identical charge, reveals the “cynicism of authorities in the state.”
Tara Rao, Programmes Director at Amnesty India, in a press statement released here on Wednesday, said, “Courts have now ruled three times in 18 months that Irom Sharmila’s hunger strike is not an attempt at suicide. Her re-arrest on the same charge flies in the face of common sense, and amounts to downright abuse of the criminal justice system.”
On 29 February, the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (Imphal West) acquitted Irom Chanu Sharmila of the charge of attempting to commit suicide, and ordered her to be released.
The court stated: “One may appreciate the resolute commitment of [Irom Sharmila] to her stand rather than take it as an excuse for slapping her with charges of criminal offence.”
The court further stated that the prosecution had “miserably failed to prove the charges of the offence of attempt to commit suicide”.
It observed that “the India struggle and movement for freedom witnessed on many occasions to agitate issues and highlight grievances or demands”.
Earlier Sharmila in a similar manner was re-arrested twice on Jan 23, last year and on Aug 22 in 2014, by the Manipur police days after court acquitted her.
Back in 2013, Irom Sharmila had told AI India, “I love life and yearn for a sense of normalcy someday.”
“A hunger strike is not attempted suicide, and a hunger striker does not belong in jail, authorities in Manipur must respect Irom Sharmila’s right to freedom of expression, drop charges and immediately release her, this farcical ritual of release and re-arrest needs to end,” Tara Rao said.