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Irom Sharmila marries long-time partner Desmond Coutinho in Kodaikanal

Also known as the 'Iron Lady', Irom fasted for 16 years from 2000 to 2016 in an effort to have the Armed Forces Special Powers Act repealed from her home state of Manipur. Photograph: (AFP)

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Aug 17, 2017, 11.41 AM (IST)

Iconic human rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila married her long-time partner Desmond Coutinho in Tamil Nadu’s Kodaikanal today. 

44-year old Sharmila rose to fame after she went on a hunger strike on November 4, 2000 demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 from the state of Manipur. The hunger strike lasted 16 years.

Also called the “Iron Lady”, she broke her fast on August 9, 2016 and declared she would form her political party and stand in the Manipur state assembly elections so that she could repeal AFSPA.  

Sharmila moved to Kodaikanal with British citizen Coutinho after her party, Peoples’ Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA), suffered defeat in the elections.

The wedding, a simple affair, was registered under the Special Marriage Act and was held in the presence of a sub-registrar. 

The wedding was objected to by local activist, V Mahendran, who contended that if the couple stayed in the hills, tribals in the area would face law and order problems.

The sub-registrar had rejected Mahendran’s objection. 

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