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Involvement of Samata Denied

Involvement of Samata Denied

The Hindustan Times (New Delhi), 16 Oct. 97.

NEW DELHI, Oct. 15            
Samata Party general secretary Jaya Jaitly today denied the involvement
of her party or its president George Fernandes in the razing of the
Namphalong Market complex on Oct 12 in Myanmar close to Moreh town of
Manipur. The recent incidents could be part of a "fight back" by the
drug Mafia.                                      

She said some newspapers had reported allegations that the Oct 2 protest
which SP activists held against drug trade was actually a front for
helping the traders' in Moreh whose business had been brought to a
standstill following the setting up of the big market complex in Tamu
about three months ago.

Addressing a Press conference, she said the Samata Party had decided to
hold the protest in Moreh way back in December 1996 at its National
Executive much before the market of Namphalong had come up.

The motivation was a story in the Time magazine, dated Dee 23,1996,
which said the value of heroin smuggled from Burma through India to the
Middle East, Europe and the United States was about Rs one lakh crore.

The Narcotics Commissioner had reported that 50,000 people or one in
every five youth, in the age-group of 19-30 -years were drug addicts in

As drugs were linked to AIDS the party wanted to create awareness
against the dreaded disease which had afflicted many in Manipur.

The party activists did build a human wall near Gate No. 2 of the
Burmese border in Moreh in protest, but some amount of tension was
created because local Meiteis, who had earlier welcomed them, now wanted
them to go back.
Word was spread that the move might lead to the closing of the gates to
Burma which meant making Burmese market and goods in accessible.