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Burmese students rally against junt

Burmese students rally against junta
Write to PM seeking India's active support

>From Asian Age Newspaper, New Delhi
May 28, 2000

By Our Correspondent

New Delhi, May 27: About a 100 Burmese dissidents held a protest rally
on Saturday morning at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi as they marked the
10th anniversary of National League for Democracy's election win in
their homeland. The league led by Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi
had won the general election supervised by the military regime. The NLD
had won 392 of the 485 parliamentary seats but the military rulers have
been refusing to hand over power to the Ms Suu Kyi's party.

Activists of several Burmese student organizations, under the aegis of
All Burma Students League, shouting anti-junta slogans and holding
posters marched towards the Parliament around 10:30 a.m. The Parliament
Street police station jawans however blocked the march a few metres away
from the Parliament House. They then held a sit-in near the police
station for an hour before they dispersed.

The Burmese student activists demanded restoration of democracy in Burma
and asked India not to remain a mute spectator to the "brutalities" of
the military junta.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, several
Burmese students' organizations based in India expressed regret that New
Delhi "has lately kept aloof and stayed away from the international
condemnation against the junta."

They requested India to play an active role in the efforts of the
international community in urging the military rulers to enter into a
dialogue with the National League for Democracy. The organizations also
requested India to urge the junta to release all political prisoners and
support the pro-democracy activists in India.

Mr. Mya Win, a Member of Parliament who recently escaped from Burma to
India, described his experiences in jail. Mr. Win, who was imprisoned
for nine years for allegedly participating in forming an exiled
government in 1990, was elected on an NLD ticket from Irrawaddy
division, the rice bowl of Burma.

In a statement on Saturday, the pro-democracy activists denounced the
ruling junta for detaining Dr. U Saw Mra Aung, chairman of the
Parliament and U Aye That Aung, the general secretary of the Committee
for Representing People's Parliament.

According to Amnesty International, more than 1,000 political activists,
including 55 MPs-elect were sent to prisons last month alone.