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Indian activist ended her 16-years hunger strike

Indian activist ended her 16-years hunger strikeA prominent Indian activist ended her 16-years hunger strike on Tuesday.

Irom Sharmila has started her hunger campaign in November 2000. She was protesting the law that provides the Indian army powers to tackle insurgency in her home state, Manipur. The law gives security forces the right to shoot to kill suspected rebels without fear of possible prosecution and to arrest suspected militants without warrants. It also gives police wide-ranging powers of search and seizure.

Since then Irom Sharmila was held by police and had been force-fed through a tube in her nose.

As she assured about her plan to stop the fast, a judge had granted her on Tuesday. The same day she appeared at a news conference. The nose tube was already removed, and she tasted the honey.

Last week Sharmila announced that she planned to end the fast in order to run for political office. She wants to run in the next Manipur state elections, in early 2017, to fight to have the security act struck down.

"I need power to remove this act," said Sharmila "I am the real embodiment of revolution."

Asked how she felt to finally eat, she said "I will never forget this moment."

Her fast begins a few days after 10 civilians were killed by paramilitary soldiers in Manipur, which has long been plagued by uprisings by ethnic separatist militants and violent government crackdowns.

After starting hunger strike, Sharmila was charged with attempting suicide. This crime in India allows officials to force feed her.

On Tuesday, an official with Amnesty International India said the fast was "a testament to her passion for human rights."

"The government arrested her, confined her to a hospital room and force fed her for 16 years, seemingly to break her will. There was zero dialogue. A peaceful protest was criminalized," said the official, Abhirr VP.

Amnesty International declared her a Prisoner of Conscience in 2013 and she has received several prestigious international prizes, including a lifetime achievement award from the Asian Human Rights Commission.
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