Burma: India remains silent

Published: June 11, 2009 - 16:09 Updated: June 12, 2009 - 14:05

<p>118 Indian MPs sent a petition to the PM. It is yet to seen if this stirs up any response<br />Abhishek Mukherjee Delhi Hardnews<br /><br />India's silence on Burma and its icon of democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, is deafening. Those who are fighting for democracy in the country ruled by the military junta finds the indifference of India, the largest democracy, alarming. <br /><br />On June 9, 118 Indian MPs sent a petition to the prime minister and the minister for external affairs to urge the Indian government to help Burma. It is yet to&nbsp;be seen if this stirs up some response. "India's patience is admirable," remarked Dr Tint Swe, an exiled MP of the National League for Democracy (NLD). He has lived in exile in India for the past 19 years and has failed in his attempts to make the Indian government act. He is a bitter man now. "India thrives on petty party politics. The moment a political party offers support, the opposition party will decide not to. Further, it is nearly impossible to seek an appointment with the top authorities here," he fumed. Like millions of other Burmese nationals, he wants the agony to end, and quickly.<br /><br />There are more than 2,100 political prisoners living in despicable condition in the jails in Burma. Three MPs have already died in custody allegedly due to torture. "The public is weak and afraid and desperately seeking change," Tint Swe told <em>Hardnews</em>. In such a scenario, Suu Kyi's release assumes immense importance to restore democracy in the country through non-violent means.<br />The daughter of democracy, as Suu Kyi is called, is currently in the Insein Prison while she is facing trial. She has not been allowed a single visitor apart from the witnesses. She has been virtually cut off from the rest of the world. Foreign ambassadors who have witnessed the trial have themselves confessed that the verdict seems predetermined. <br /><br />Suu Kyi is facing trial allegedly for welcoming a visitor to her home thus violating the terms of her house arrest. John William Yettaw, an American, had apparently visited her when she was under house arrest and was offered food and drink by her. It was suggested that the 'visitor' was not stopped at the gate by the guards, who on their part denied having seen him entering her gate. <br /><br />"The regime is clearly afraid that her release would cause their downfall. It is simple - they want to keep her out of active politics for as long as possible," said Tint Swe. He hoped that the world community would mount enough pressure to compel a fair judgment.<br />The Burmese people are unable to put up a united opposition since the military regime crushed uprisings brutally. Yet, slogans and graffiti appear on government institutions in Burma, especially Rangoon, demanding Suu Kyi's release.<br /><br />Obviously, this is not enough to bring back democracy in Burma. Till Suu Kyi remained in prison and countries like India looked the other way on the plea of non-interference in 'internal affairs' of the country, the fate of Burma could be like Zimbabwe, felt analysts.</p>

118 Indian MPs sent a petition to the PM. It is yet to be seen if this stirs up any response
Abhishek Mukherjee Delhi Hardnews

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