Irom Sharmila wants to meet mother who declines



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 Till the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) is withdrawn, she will remain on strike and we will not meet,” Shakhi Devi, her mother, said here.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 asthma attack.

PTI