Internationally renowned human rights activist Irom Sharmila, who is facing a slew of petitions opposing her upcoming marriage in Kodaikanal, has made it clear that she will not move out of the hill station. She has also declared that documentary filmmaker Divya Bharathi, who is receiving threats over her film Kakoos, will be her bridesmaid.
The Hindu Makkal Katchi had filed a petition in Kodaikanal against the proposed wedding on Friday. The organisation has alleged that allowing Irom to stay and get married in the hill station would ruin the peace and tranquility of the city. Sharmila and her partner, British national Desmond Coutinho, moved to the tourist town after she suffered a crushing defeat in the Manipur Assembly elections this year.
Following this, she submitted documents in Kodaikanal for their marriage under the Special Marriage Act at sub-registrar office on July 12. As per the Act, the couple needs to give a 30-day notice period before getting married.
â€śI donâ€™t know why they are scared about us getting married. It is a private life of two persons,â€ť said Sharmila, addressing media persons on the sidelines of a seminar on freedom of expression in support of Divya Bharati. â€śWhether we are getting married or not, we will live together in the house in Kodaikanal. I donâ€™t know what kind of threat a marriage of two persons could pose to the beautiful State,â€ť she added.
She further extended her support to Divya, whose film on the failure to implement the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013, has put the governments of Tamil Nadu and India in a fix. "I will stand by Divya; I hope you will do the same. I invite Divya to stand beside me at my wedding next week. At this moment, I cannot think of a finer garland than the end of caste slavery,â€ť Sharmila told reporters.
The Madurai police had registered a case under two sections of IPC against Divya for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc, and for promoting hatred among communities, classes. Puthiya Thamilagam, a Dalit party, had filed the complaint alleging that she had wrongly projected members of Pallar caste (a Dalit community) indulging in manual scavenging.
Following this, the filmmaker has been subjected to immense harrassment, abuse, death threats and misogyny online and on her phone.