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Red Cross Society to shelter Sharmila

Red Cross Society to shelter Sharmila

Imphal: The Indian Red Cross Society will provide shelter to Irom Sharmila, who is being shunned by many in Manipur after she ended her 16-year-long fast against a draconian legislation.

The Manipur branch of the Red Cross Society has decided to give her temporary shelter till the time Sharmila finds a lasting place to live in Imphal.

After friends and many supporters came out openly against her decision to end the fast, Sharmila said: "I do not plan to go home and meet my mother and others before my mission is successful."

The public animosity to a woman who for years was considered an icon and earned the sobriquet "Iron Lady" has stunned many.

Police have brought her back to the J.N. Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal where she had been warded for 16 long years when she fasted against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

During the hunger strike, she took no food or water and was nasal fed.

Although she is no longer in judicial custody, the government is "looking after her", an official said.

L. Ranbir, the hospital's medical superintendent, clears reporters and supporters who want to meet her. Those who he feels are opposed to her are not allowed to meet Sharmila.

Sharmila's dejection over the way many are treating her has affected her. A hospital source said she often breaks down while talking to visitors.

She says people have not understood her and perhaps want her as a "martyr".

Hospital sources told IANS that she was yet to resume taking normal solid food on medical grounds.

But she has started consuming gruel rice, beverages mixed with Horlicks and milk.

And she "is mentally and physically fine and there is no sign of fatigue and disorientation", a doctor said.

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