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Afghan police break up hunger strike

Afghan police have taken a woman politician to hospital and dismantled the tent where she observed a 12-day hunger strike to protest against being disqualified from parliament.



Kabul: Afghan police have taken a woman
politician to hospital and dismantled the tent where she
observed a 12-day hunger strike to protest against being
disqualified from parliament, officials said on Friday.

Semin Barakzai, a 30-year-old mother of three and one of
nine MPs expelled from the national assembly over vote-rigging
claims, had refused to eat until she is reinstated to her
parliamentary seat or her case is re-investigated.

But there had been growing concerns for her health even
as a woman MP and four students joined Barakzai in her hunger
strike on Wednesday.

"Afghan police forces last night removed the tent of the
ousted lawmaker from parliament, Semin Barakzai, to call off
her strike," Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said.

Barakzai was taken to hospital by ambulance yesterday and
was in a stable condition, added the spokesman.

Hunger strikes, particularly by women, are unusual in
Afghanistan, a deeply conservative male-dominated society.

Police went into her tent unarmed and asked Barakzai
to go to the hospital, before removing the tent "without
facing any negative response from Barakzai and her relatives",
Stanikzai added.

Neither Barakzai nor her relatives were immediately
reachable for comment.

She and eight other members of the Wolesi Jirga were
kicked out by the Independent Election Commission last August
in an attempt to resolve nearly a year of disputes over
widespread graft in September 2010 parliamentary polls.

The powerful council of Afghanistan`s Islamic clerics
issued a fatwa saying that rejecting food was against Islam.

Fazil Ahmad Manawi, the head of the Independent
Election Commission also called on Barakzai to end the hunger
strike, saying the body was not authorised to return her to
the parliament.

PTI

From Zee News

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