Irom Leaves Mother in Tears: ‘Coming Home Not Her Immediate Plan’

Manipuri civil rights activist Irom Sharmila married her long-time partner, Desmond Coutinho.

1 min read

In a simple ceremony, Manipuri civil rights activist Irom Sharmila married her long-time partner, Desmond Coutinho, a British national.

However, back home, Sharmila’s 86-year-old teared up when asked what conversation she had with her daughter after she tied the knot. Irom Ongbi Sakhi, who is battling chronic asthma, said her daughter had called seeking her blessings.

“She evaded my question when I asked her to come home,” Sakhi said sobbing, “I told her I wished to see her one more time before my failing health overcomes me. She said she wants to see me too but coming home isn’t her immediate plan.”

Irom and Coutinho had submitted their application to register their marriage under the Special Marriage Act on 12 July, and the Sub-Registrar had called for objections, if any, within 30 days.

A group of tribals in the area, including Palani Malai Pulaiyan and Paliyar, had submitted a memorandum to the Sub-Registrar supporting the Sharmila-Coutinho wedding.

Also Read: Irom Sharmila Defies Opposition, Gets Married in Kodaikanal

The 44-year-old activist had shot to fame after launching an indefinite fast on 4 November 2000 in Manipur, demanding withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958.

Sharmila, also known as the 'Iron Lady', broke her 16-year fast – the world's longest – on 9 August 2016, and declared that she wanted to become the Chief Minister so she could repeal the contentious AFSPA. After her shocking defeat in the Manipur Assembly polls, she moved to Kodaikanal where she plans to stay with her husband.

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