Imphal: Eleven years after she started
her indefinite hunger strike, Manipur’s “Iron Lady” Irom Chanu
Sharmila has for the first time expressed a desire to meet her
mother, who, however, refused to oblige till her daughter’s
mission is accomplished.
“This is not the right time to meet as the issue has
not yet been resolved. Till the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special
Powers Act) is withdrawn, she will remain on strike and we
will not meet,” Shakhi Devi, her mother, said here.
Citing sentimental reasons, the 78-year-old said she
apprehends that Sharmila’s strength and courage to continue
her lone battle isolated from the rest of the world might
weaken with an emotionally-charged mother-daughter reunion.
“I don’t want her to be weak in this fight. She needs
continuous courage to go on,” Shakhi said.
After Sharmila began her fast on November 5, 2000, she
declared that she would not see her mother as long as she was
on her fast to avoid any emotional entanglement.
Although living only a few meters away from each
other, the duo has since then seen each other only once when
Shakhi was admitted to the Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital where
incidentally the nasally-fed Sharmila has also been kept under
detention by the police for “attempt to suicide”.
Sharmila’s elder brother Irom Singhajit recalls the
2009 episode when their mother had slipped into coma after an