Human rights activist Irom Sharmila visited the sub-registrar’s office in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, on Wednesday to register her marriage with long-time British partner Desmond Coutinho, reported The Times of India. The Manipuri activist has now shifted and settled in Perumalmalai in Kodaikanal. While she was campaigning ahead of the Manipur state elections earlier this year, Sharmila had said she intended to get married by August.
Despite the formalities being completed under the Hindu Marriage Act yesterday, the couple was told by the sub-registrar that they will be granted permission only after they have registered it under the Special Marriage Act, as their marriage is inter-religious. This requires a 30-day notice period, they were told.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the 45-year-old said her “search for peace ended in Kodaikanal”, reported TOI. She added she likes to roam the streets of the hill-town without being disturbed. When asked if she would continue fighting for issues, she said, “Anyone is free to fight for his or her rights in free India. And I will rise up to the occasion if the need arises.”
Sharmila, also referred to as the ‘Iron’ woman, is known for her 16-year hunger strike in protest against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in the northeast. She had vowed never to eat or drink — she was forced-fed to keep her alive — until it was repealed in the state. However, last August, Sharmila broke her fast and subsequently announced her entry into the political fray. She formed the People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance Party and contested the Manipur Assembly elections in March. The party, however, received only 90 votes.