Saturday, May 16, 2009

India’s Left constituent joins outcry over Suu Kyi’s trial

by Solomon

New Delhi (Mizzima)- India’s Left Front constituent, the All India Forward Bloc, has condemned Burma’s ruling junta for charging pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, saying that the whole incident was a ploy by the junta.

Ashok Ghosh, member of the Central Secretariat of the All India Forward Bloc (AIFB), told Mizzima on Thursday that the charges against Burma’s democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, of breaching the detention law, was a ploy to continue detaining her.

“We cannot accept that. We are opposed to it, it is a trick played by the government of Burma,” Ghosh said.

His reaction came a day after the Burmese Nobel Peace Laureate was taken from her lakeside villa to a special court in the notorious Insein prison, where she faces trial for charges of breaching her detention law by allowing an alien to enter her house and providing him food, shelter, and water.

The charges were made after an American citizen, John William Yettaw, visited Aung San Suu Kyi’s house by swimming across the Innya Lake, on May 3. Burmese authorities said. He was arrested on the morning of May 6, while he was swimming back from Aung San Suu Kyi’s house.

Following the incident, Aung San Suu Kyi’s doctor, Tin Myo Win, was arrested and detained. Aung San Suu Kyi along with her two party members, Khin Win and daughter, who live with her and look after her, were produced in a special court.

Aung San Suu Kyi is said to be detained in a separate house inside the Insein Prison precincts and will face the second court hearing on May 18.

Calling the charges and trial ‘illegal’ and ‘unjust’, Ghosh said the whole incident was masterminded by the ruling junta, with the intention to continue detaining Aung San Suu Kyi.

He said it is impossible for anybody to swim across the lake and enter into Aung San Suu Kyi’s house, without being noticed, as security was tight in and around the compound.

“This is only a trick to continue imprisoning her,” Ghosh added.

Ghosh said, instead of resorting to tricks to continue detaining Aung San Suu Kyi, the ruling junta should release her immediately and allow her to participate in their proposed 2010 election.

“There should be no election without Suu Kyi. The Burmese regime must free Suu Kyi before the election. We want to see a free and fair election, he said.

“No Suu Kyi, no election,” he added.

The All India Forward Bloc, is a leftwing party founded by the father of the Indian National Army Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, who had joined hands with Burma’s Independence architect and father of Burma’s Armed Forces General Aung San, in their struggle to drive out British colonialists from both India and Burma.

All India Forward Bloc is the first Indian political party to have raised its voice regarding the charges and the trial against Burma’s democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Congress, heading India’s United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition government, and its main rival the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have not come up with any official reaction on Aung San Suu Kyi’s situation.

Meanwhile, the international community, including the United States have, widely condemned the junta for charging Aung San Suu Kyi and putting her on trial, with many speculating that it was the junta’s ploy to detain her further.

The US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday said “I am deeply troubled by the Burmese Government’s decision to charge Aung San Suu Kyi for a baseless crime.”

Clinton, during a press conference on Thursday said, “We oppose the regime’s efforts to use this incident as a pretext to place further unjustified restrictions on her.”

She called on the Burmese authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally, along with her doctor and the more than 2,100 political prisoners currently being detained.

Clinton’s statement was echoed by leaders of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and others including Burma’s neighbour Thailand in their call for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Similarly, ‘The Elders Group’, a group consisting of World dignitaries including former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, South Africa’s Archbishop and Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tu Tu and Nelson Mandela also urged the Burmese junta to release Aung San Suu Kyi.

“Release our sister now! Absurd ‘trial’ is an excuse to extend her incarceration,” said Desmond Tutu, Chair of the group, in a statement.

Former US president Jimmy Carter also said in the statement, “We stand by Aung San Suu Kyi and call on world leaders to demand her immediate release.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed his grave concern over the news of Aung San Suu Kyi being transferred to Insein prison from her lakeside villa, where she was under house arrest.

Michele Montas, Ban’s spokesperson, in a press release said, “The Secretary-General is gravely concerned about the news that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been shifted to Insein Prison to face criminal charges.”

The UN chief called on Burma’s military government to negotiate with all other opposition groups instead of confrontation in order to move ahead with the process of national reconciliation.

Montas said, Ban Ki-moon believes, “Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is an essential partner for a dialogue in Myanmar's national reconciliation and urged on the Government not to take any further action that could undermine this important process.”

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