The Iron Lady of Manipur Irom Chanu Sharmila is likely to get married soon with British citizen Desmond Coutinho, whom she knew for the last eight years.
Informing that human rights activists Ms Sharmila is in Madurai in Tamil Nadu, sources close to her family in Imphal neither confirmed nor denied the information.
Indicating that the marriage is going to be solemnised somewhere in Kerala, sources said Ms Sharmila was disappointed with the poor response of the state’s people in the recent Assembly elections, in which her party had to face a humiliating defeat.
Pointing out that Ms Sharmila had recently applied for a passport to go abroad to meet Mr Coutinho, sources said that authorities are said to have turned down her request on technical grounds.
After denial of the passport, Ms Sharmila is said to have planned to solemnise her marriage in Kerala. Local media reports said it has been kept confidential deliberately by Ms Sharmila and Mr Coutinho, who is expected to reach Kerala in a day or two, sources said.
When 54-year-old Coutinho first read about Ms Sharmila’s struggle in Burning Bright, a book by Deepti Priya Mehrotra, he wrote a letter to her in 2009.
Since then, the two have been exchanging letters regularly. He came to Imphal for the first time in February 2011 and despite all protests managed to meet her, just before she was released for a brief period. Since then they were in touch. Ms Sharmila had never hidden her love for Mr Coutinho. On many occasions she was quoted as saying, “Yes, he loves me a lot and cares for me.”
Sources close to Ms Sharmila said that they have seen the reports in the media about her marriage but they are yet to get any confirmation from her.