Image of Asia: The vigil before 16-year hunger strike ends

In this photo by Anupam Nath, a security officer on a bulletproof vehicle keeps vigil outside a hospital in Imphal, India, where activist Irom Sharmila has been kept in judicial custody for engaging in a nearly 16-year hunger strike. Sharmila told a court in Manipur state last month that she would end her fast on Tuesday to run in state elections next year. She has not eaten any food voluntarily since Nov. 5, 2000, in protest of a law that suspends many human rights protections in areas of conflict. Three days into her fast, she was arrested on charges of attempting suicide and has been force fed through a tube in her nose since then. She has said the single issue on her political agenda is removing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which is in effect in Indian-ruled Kashmir and northeastern areas wracked by separatist insurgencies. The law says troops have the right to shoot to kill suspected rebels without fear of possible prosecution and to arrest suspected militants without a warrant.

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