Just hours after the human rights activist Irom Sharmila filed the papers for her marriage with her British partner Desmond Coutinho at the Sub-Registrar’s office in Kodaikanal, a local activist has filed a petition against the marriage.
The iron lady from Manipur filed the papers for her marriage in Kodaikanal on 12 July, but it was challenged by a local activist V Mahendran, saying her activism on behalf of tribals could be a threat to peace on the hills, mar tourism.
The activist submitted his petition to the Sub-Registrar, asking the government to deny her permission to get married, The Hindu reported.
Sharmila, the indefatigable fighter against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Manipur, who had a disastrous debut in assembly elections this year, filed the marriage application under the Hindu Marriage Act. Since it is an inter-religious marriage, they had to file the application under the Special Marriage Act.
The application was put up on the notice board for any objections and the marriage can be performed after the expiry of the 30-day notice period.
“When I met Irom Sharmila in Kodaikanal during her visit to Bodhi Zendo near Perumal Malai, she said that she came to Kodaikanal to lead a peaceful life. I welcomed her then, as she was a renowned activist,” the petition reads.
Though Mahendran was among the first to receive Sharmila and honoured her with a shawl when she came to Kodaikanal, he decided to not support the marriage when in a recent television interview, Irom suggested extending support to the tribals in the area. The petitioner also says her fiance Desmond Coutinho, an activist himself, is also viewed as a threat to the peace and stability of the hills, which is a tourist haven.
Sharmila, who moved to Kodaikanal and has been living with her friend for some months, told reporters that she came to Kodaikanal in search of peace and liked the place. Though defeated in her fight, she said she had not given up her cause.