(NEWS.com.au) — Irom Sharmila has not eaten a meal in 12 years. The 40-year-old woman has been on a hunger strike and been force fed through a tube by authorities.

Ms Sharmila was charged on Monday with attempted suicide in a case likely to bring major attention to her quiet protest in the tiny northeastern state of Manipur against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

Under the law, in effect in Indian-ruled Kashmir and parts of the country’s northeast, troops have the right to shoot to kill suspected rebels without fear of possible prosecution and to arrest suspected militants without a warrant. It also gives police wide-ranging powers of search and seizure.

Dubbed the “Iron Lady” by her supporters, Ms Sharmila has become a rallying point for those demanding the law’s repeal.

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