Irom Sharmila: India activist to end fast after 16 years

Social activist from Manipur, Irom Sharmila, who has been on a fast for 12 years demanding the repeal of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), arrives at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on March 3, 2013. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Irom Sharmila Chanu began a hunger strike after 10 civilians were killed by Indian soldiers in 2000

Indian activist Irom Sharmila Chanu has ended a 16 year hunger strike against a controversial law in the country.

She has said she will end her protest on 9 August and begin campaigning in local elections as an independent.

Ms Chanu had been protesting the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which gives soldiers sweeping powers to arrest without warrants and even shoot to kill in certain situations.

She has been force-fed through a tube in her nose for more than a decade.

AFSPA is in effect in several Indian states, including Ms Chanu's home state Manipur and Indian-administered Kashmir.

She told a Manipur district court, where she is required to mark attendance every 15 days, that she wanted to contest local assembly elections.

She has spent most of the last 16 years in judicial custody in a hospital in Manipur's capital, Imphal.

Her protest has won her worldwide recognition, with Amnesty International describing her as a prisoner of conscience.

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