Wednesday, May 27, 2009

India urged to pressurize junta to free Suu Kyi

by Salai Pi Pi

New Delhi (Mizzima) - Indian politicians and activists including artists today called on the Indian government to pressurize the Burmese military regime to release Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and to restore democracy in the Southeast Asia country.

Surendra Mohan, a former Member of Parliament of India on Wednesday said that India, which has been silent over the Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial, should change its stance and take proactive action against the Burmese junta to free her and the country.

“I appeal to the Government of India to change its position. India should take a firm stand like other democratic countries to see democracy is restored in Burma,” Surendra Mohan said in a conference to show Indian people’s solidarity with Burma and lend its voice for the freedom of Aung San Suu Kyi. The conference was held in the Constitution Club in New Delhi.

Mohan also said India should not neglect the rights and freedom of the Burmese people for the sake of the economic interest of the country by cosying up to the regime.

“We understand why India has taken a soft stand on Burma. I won’t say it is ‘neutral’. It is not in line with democracy, in line with supporting democracy,” Mohan said, “We understand that you need gas and timber from Burma. For whatever reason it is, those should not be equated with the rights and the freedom of the Burmese people.”

Despite the Indian government taking a U turn in supporting the democratic movement in Burma, Mohan said, “There are a large number of people, various politicians and civil society in India who certainly want the restoration of democracy in Burma.”

Meanwhile, Nandita Das, Indian actress and social activist told Mizzima on Wednesday that the Indian government’s silence over the trail of Suu Kyi by the regime for allegedly harbouring the uninvited US citizen John Yettaw, who intruded into her home on May 3 and stayed there for two nights, is totally disappointing.

“I think it is a great failure and it is sad if we can’t raise our voice for the people suffering in jail and for Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

“It is not just silence. It is like being indifferent and wishfully silent. That’s why the civil society, the government and anybody else need to put pressure on the India government, the international community and Burmese regime. So she [Aung San Suu Kyi] is free,” she added.

Moreover, Former Samata Party president Jaya Jaitley, Former Defence Minister George Fernandez, Sumit Chakravartty, editor of Mainstream weekly and film director Amar Kanwar and other Indian artists condemned India and called it to pressure the junta for the early release of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Though India has been pushed to take action against the Burmese junta, G. Devarajan, Secretary of the Central Committee of All India Forward Bloc didn’t expect that India, a trading partner of the regime, will come up with a statement urging the junta to release Suu Kyi and for political change in Burma.

“Since India is Burma’s trade partner, I don’t think it will come out with a very helpful statement to release Aung San Suu Kyi though they have given the Jawaharlal Nehru award to her before,” he added.

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