Irom Sharmila Marriage Row: Rights Groups Hail Official’s Action

Chennai: Human rights activists from more than 40 groups today welcomed the decision of Sub-Registrar of Marriages in Kodaikanal, overruling the objections on the marriage of human rights activist and ‘Iron Lady’ of Manipur Irom Sharmila, thereby upholding her right to choose her partner and reside in Kodaikanal.

They also urged the police to provide necessary protection to her and her husband.

”We also condemn the engineered moves, presumably by the NGOs objecting to the proposed marriage of Irom Sharmila with Desmond Coutinho before the Marriage Registrar, Kodaikanal”, Human Rights activists said in a joint statement.

The police must perform their constitutional obligations rather than aligning with the few communal, anti-secular, divisive and criminal forces of Kodaikanal.

”If there is a living embodiment of non-violence in this country, it is none other than Irom Sharmila, who is a recipient of several international awards for staging the world’s longest protest by fasting for 16 years to ensure life without the Armed Forces Special Powers Act”, it said.

Sharmila will marry her British-origin partner Desmond Anthony Bellarmine Coutinho on August 16.

In an order, the Sub-Registrar stated that the only conditions required for a couple to get married as per Section 4 of the Special Marriage Act were that the applicant should not have any other life partner; he/she should be in good mental health; and should have attained the age prescribed for marriage under the Act.