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Court asks Irom Sharmila to appear on Dec 19

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A Wednesday directed Manipuri social activist Irom Sharmila to appear before it Dec 19 in a case lodged against her for attempting suicide during her fast-unto-death here at Jantar Mantar in 2006.

Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain posted the matter for Dec 19 for recording of testimony of the prosecution witness, after Sharmila's counsel failed to turn up. Sharmila has been on a fast for about 12 years, demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

On March 4, the court had framed charges against 40-year-old Sharmila, popularly known as "Iron lady", for attempting to commit suicide, and put her on trial after she refused to plead guilty of the offence.

However, Sharmila, who was present in the court in March, denied that she attempted suicide while fasting at Jantar Mantar here in 2006.

The court earlier told her that the maximum punishment in the case was a few months to a year; she had been in custody for more than six years, so if she pleads guilty, the case would be settled, she was told.

However, she refused to accepted the charges made against her.

Sharmila told the court that she has been protesting for the last 12 years in the "most non-violent way, like Mahatma Gandhi".

She said that she is fasting for the people of Manipur, as they are being neglected by the government, and requested the court that she not be asked to appear in court again and again, because of her medical condition.

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