Manipur's 'Iron Lady' Irom Sharmila, who has been on a hunger strike for the past 16 years demanding repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) on Tuesday announced her decision to end the fast on August 9 and contest state Assembly elections.
"I will break my fast as the government has failed to give any positive response. I will fight elections to resolve the issues," she said on Tuesday.
She said that she no longer believes that her fast will lead to the repeal of AFSPA but she will continue the fight. "I will join politics and my fight will continue,” said Sharmila who has refused to eat or drink anything since November, 2000.
Assembly elections in Manipur are scheduled in 2017.
Sharmila began her hunger strike against the killing of 10 civilians by security forces at a bus stop near Imphal airport. "Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, had resorted to fasts while making certain demands,” she said.
Sharmila is forcibly fed through a nasal tube in Imphal's Jawahar Lal Nehru Hospital, a special ward of which acts as her prison.
She had been arrested, released and then re-arrested from time to time on the charge of making an attempt to commit suicide.
The state government used to spend over Rs 80,000 per month over her medication and nose feeding and security.
Parliament passed the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) in 1958, giving special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in seven sister states in the North east which they considered as "disturbed areas". According to this Act, the armed forces have the power to search anyone's property and arrest people without any warrant and to use deadly force in case of a reasonable suspicion that the person is acting against the state.