After breaking her 16-year-old hunger strike against AFSPA, civil rights activist Irom Sharmila has been asked by doctors to continue staying in the hospital for a few more days.
“Her health is fine now but there is no precedence in medical history of how someone’s body would react if he or she starts eating after a break of 16 years. So she needs to be under medical supervision,” doctors at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital said.
It was at this hospital where the ‘Iron Lady’ of Manipur was kept under police detention and forcibly nose-fed till she broke the world’s longest-running fast on August 9.
Doctors said the 44-year-old, who broke the hunger strike with a dab of honey, is now gradually taking semi-solid food like oats besides boiled rice and milk shakes and juices.
“Her body is responding well so far. But we have to be very slow because her digestive system, which was inactive so far for absorbing solid food, will not be able to immediately start accepting all kinds of food,” they said.
A team of doctors from different specialities like gastroenteritis and gynaecology are monitoring her health.
Sharmila’s brother Singhajit said she will stay at the hospital till her health condition improves in the next few days.
Babloo Loitangbam, one of her associates, said the day Sharmila broke her fast some locals were very angry at her sudden decision.
“There was a meeting yesterday with the women activists of Sharmila Kanba Lup where she explained that she has chosen to take a different path but her goal remains the same – repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA). Things were then sorted out,” he said.
They have advised Sharmila to start a process of reintegration with the society as she has been living in isolation from the rest of the world for the last 16 years.
“She needs a reality check. The world is not the same as it used to be when she began her fast. Now she needs to first start meeting people and see the present day Manipur,” Loitangbam said.