A radical organisation in Manipur has threatened the "Iron Lady" of Manipur Irom Sharmila against going ahead with her decision to contest elections and marry an outsider.
Manipuri human rights activist Irom Sharmila, who has announced that she would end her 16-year-old fast against alleged atrocities by the Indian Army in the northeastern state this month, has been threatened by a local radical group.
While announcing her decision, she had also told media that she planned to marry.
The threat was given by a lesser-known secessionist group called Alliance for Socialist Unity, Kangleipak (ASUK).
The group backs the idea of a sovereign Manipur, free from Delhi’s control.
In the threat they said that some former revolutionary leaders were assassinated after deviating from the cause and getting elected as people’s representatives.
"All those who joined electoral politics did so knowing well that it was a dead-end,” ASUK chairman N Oken and vice-chairman Ksh Lab Meitei said in a statement on Wednesday, as per reports in The Hindustan Times.
The secessionist group also expressed its displeasure over Sharmila's decision to wed "non-local man" Desmond Coutinho, a Goan-British activist. According to ASU, a marriage between "Indians" and people of Kangleipak – the ancient name of Manipur – was partly responsible for the ongoing drive to protect indigenous peoples. The group also claimed that Coutinho could be a spy for intelligence agencies, planted to impede their fight against AFSPA and "colonial domination".
She also said that she would marry her fiancé, writer and activist Desmond Coutinho, a British citizen of Goan origin. In an interview to The Telegraph in 2011, Irom said that while she was in love, her supporters were against the idea of her getting married.
Irom says in the interview that Desmond's letters and thoughts made her fall for him and she has carefully kept them in a box by her bedside. Eventually, the two got engaged. After her announcement to end her fast on July 26, 2016, Irom expressed her desire to get married after coming out of prison on August 9.
Sharmila, who has spent most of the last 16 years in custody in an Imphal hospital, is to be released on August 9.