“ I want to live- I’ll eat when AFSPA is completely removed from the State”- a poignant statement of a lady who have become an icon of the struggles and the unwavering resolve of the common citizens not only of Manipur but of the whole world against the oppressions and the brutal laws that proposes to remove insurgency and terror. Irom Sharmila Chanu- “The defiant Lady”, “The iron lady of Manipur”, “Youth icon”, “a Satyagrahi”, “An unlikely outlaw”- call what you may- titles and praises, accolades and accusations mean precious little to her. On a fast since 2000 demanding for complete removal of the draconian Armed Forces special Powers Act 1958, she was whisked away to Delhi, to be paraded and charged with attempted suicide after being produced in the court there. This incident should go down in the annals of social justice as one of the worst conceited attempts at legal enforcement. The court admittedly remarked on the political nature of Sharmila’s struggle, yet without trying to first rectify and bridge the gap that exists between the political and legal systems which is the genesis of myriad crimes and atrocities being committed by well informed and unscrupulous elements taking undue advantages of these lapses and loopholes, charged her with attempted suicide- as had been done umpteen times before. It would be imperative to understand the causes that brought Manipur to it’s present state, and it would be vital to understand that Irom Sharmila is protesting- nay fighting in her own way through the only means at her command, since she, like so many of the oppressed lot lacks economic and political power and influence- for a peaceful, simple life without oppression and pressure. She is fasting unto life- free and unfettered. Her only demand- to let her lead her own life- as hundreds of thousands of people similarly wish to- without the fear psychosis and the ordeal of being branded an insurgent- an outlaw at the merest suspicion and the possibility of losing one’s precious life without any warning- just because the armed forces are empowered to. A change that has been eluding the State for six decades even with the most brutal and oppressive law needs to be abolished. There are hundreds of Sharmilas waiting to take their turn. AFSPA breeds more insurgents than it removes. It’s time to admit.