March 9, 2009 / 6:25 PM / 11 years ago

India's Iron Lady rearrested a day after release

Irom Sharmila Chanu, 34, reacts during an interview with Reuters in New Delhi in this October 4, 2006 file photo. REUTERS/Vijay Mathur/Files

GUWAHATI, India (Reuters) - An Indian human rights campaigner released from prison on Saturday was rearrested on Monday after she refused to end a hunger protest against a controversial anti-terror law, officials said.

Irom Sharmila, also known as the Iron Lady of Manipur, is demanding repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which gives troops sweeping powers to kill suspected rebels and immunity from prosecution. The 1958 law applies only in Indian Kashmir and the insurgency-affected northeast.

Sharmila, who has been force-fed a liquid diet through a nasal tube in prison, said on Saturday she would continue her fast after her release.

Sharmila has been in prison since 2000, protesting against the law which activists say has led to widespread rights abuses in the northeast, where India is fighting decades of insurgency.

“Yes, she has been again arrested today,” said a police officer in the city of Imphal, state capital of restive Manipur.

The officer said by telephone she would be held for a year.

Sharmila, who is in her late thirties, began her strike after soldiers shot dead 10 young men in a small town in Manipur in October 2000.

Human rights groups say the act has given the security forces a licence to kill, torture and rape with impunity.

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