Red Cross Society to shelter 'homeless' Irom Sharmila

A majority of her friends and many supporters have come out openly against her decision to end the 16-year fast and enter politics, with her family refusing to accept her back in their lives

Red Cross Society to shelter

When her own family shut the doors on 'Manipur's Iron Lady' Irom Chanu Sharmila over her decision to break her 16-year fast, the Indian Red Cross Society has decided to provide shelter to the activist.

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

After her friends and many supporters came out openly against her decision to end the fast and enter politics, 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 had earned her the sobriquet 'Iron Lady', has stunned many.

After she found no place to live, the police had to bring 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 imposition of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act on the state.

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 of her friends and relatives are treating her has deeply saddened 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 said 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.