Twelve years ago, Sharmila began her indefinite hunger strike against military presence in the North East. The then 28-year-old's demand was that the government repeal the all-powerful AFSPA after troops of the Assam Rifles gunned down 10 civilians at a bus stop in Manipur.
The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) gives sweeping powers to the armed forces when they fight separatist insurgents or leftist radicals. The act was enforced in the North-Eastern states and Jammu and Kashmir to tackle militancy.
Along with many awards for her fearless act, 'The iron lady of Manipur' has been arrested multiple times. Her fight is for the most basic human right -- the choice to live without fear in one's own homeland. Sharmila is currently in judicial custody and is force-fed through her nose to keep her alive.