A sub-registrar here has rejected objections to the marriage between Manipur civil rights activist Irom Sharmila and her long-time partner Desmond Coutinho, a British national. The sub-registrar passed an order rejecting the objection filed by one V Mahendran, a local social activist, thereby clearing the decks for the marriage. Under the Special Marriage Act, objections could be raised only if one person was already married, or had not attained marriageable age, or one of them did not have good mental health, the sub-registrar said in the order yesterday. The objections raised by Mahendran could not be accepted and were being rejected, he said. The couple had presented the wedding application on July 12 and under the Special Marriage Act, objections could be raised within 30 days. Mahendran objected to the wedding on the ground that if the couple stayed in the hill station, they could disrupt the law and order in the place.
Sharmila had moved to this hill town with Coutinho following her defeat in the Manipur Assembly elections in March in which her party ‘People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance’ had been routed. The 44-year-old had shot to fame after launching her indefinite fast on November 4, 2000, demanding withdrawal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 from Manipur.
Sharmila, also known as ‘Iron Lady’, broke her 16-year- long fast, the world’s longest, on August 9, 2016 and declared that she wanted to become the chief minister so she could repeal the contentious AFSPA.