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Myanmarese students seek an end to

Subject: Myanmarese students seek an end to bordedr trade

Subject: Myanmarese students seek an end to border trade
The Hindu, May 22,1996. (New Delhi)
IMPHAL, May 21.
The pro-democratic Myanmarese students who have been living in 
refugee camps in Minipur and other undisclosed places in the country, 
are hopeful that the BJP-led government may put an end to the 
legalised border trade between India and Myanmar. After an inordinate 
delay, the border trade agreement was signed in 1994 and it became 
operational only 1995. From the very beginning, the pro-democratic 
Myanmarese students have been critical of the trade agreement.
In a statement, the students said it was unbecoming of the Indian 
Government, to enter into trade agreement with the military rulers. The 
students said taking advantage of the trade agreement, the military 
rulers were sending huge quantities of heroine and other contraband 
goods. Though larger chunks of the sales proceeds are pocketed by 
some corrupt element, enough military equipment has been purchased 
to suppress the pro-democratic movement in Myanmar. It is alleged that 
most of the costly items are not reflected in the official records. The 
military rulers might have taken into consideration the vitriolic 
criticisms by the exiled students when they levelled serious charges 
while demanding the handing over of these students. They had said that 
the students who are lodged in Manipur were wanted in Myanmar in 
with some specific charges. Over 500 students and other activists had 
come to Moreh, the border town in Manipur, when the military rulers 
launched a crackdown on the pro-democratic students leaders. The 
students were lodged near the police station. However, army intelligence 
personnel came to Moreh by mingling with the common smugglers and 
shouted at the refugees that unless they voluntarily come back their 
family members would face the music in Myanmar. Fearing that there 
may be rescue, these refugees were shifted to the 8 Bn Manipur Rifles 
battalion at Leikhun well inside the Chandel district. That this too was 
not safe was seen from the way police arrested an agent who might have 
been trying to kill student leaders. The Indian government declared 
them refugees and adequate funds were sanctioned. However there are 
reports that the refugees were exploited and an embarrassed Chief 
Minister, Mr. R. K. Dorendra had assured the Manipur Assembly that 
action would be taken against the official who had misappropriated the 
funds. In due course some of the students went back to Myanmar while 
others vanished somewhere in India.
One team of students led by a martial arts instructor, were nabbed after 
crossing the international border; they were believed to have been 
executed on the charge that they had trained some guerrillas. During a 
flag meeting, the military rulers are said to have told Indian Army that 
the students activists on Myanmar are being imparted guerrilla warfare 
which was denied. It was now been made clear that the legalised trade 
has benefited some of the military rulers of Myanmar. Since India is not 
benefited by the border trade indications are that it may not be renewed 
after the expire of the present agreement.