Burmese refugees celebrate Suu Kyi release

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Imphal, Nov. 14 : Burmese refugees taking shelter in Manipur celebrated the release of their leader Aung San Suu Kyi by the military junta and said that the release of the leader will strengthen the pro-democracy movement.

Myanmar yesterday freed Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from seven-and-a-half years of house arrest.A Burmese refugee taking shelter in Imphal today said the release of the leader by the military junta brought happiness for all those demanding return of democracy in Myanmar.

“Everybody living in Myanmar, India and other countries are happy at the release of our leader. The military junta has been terrorizing the people for years. With our leader free now our struggle will intensify,” the refugee who did not want to be quoted said.

He said that it was because intense international pressure and severe criticism from the people in Myanmar for the male-practices by the military junta duringthe recent election.The refugees also see a design by the junta in releasing the leader. “Becauseof public criticisms the junta wants to divert the attention of the public from the electoral male practices and the government has some success in that.

Today at Yangon our leader addressed the public and people have forgottenthe electoral male practices,” he said.The military junta held election for the first time since 1990. In that election the National League for Democracy won a thumpingmajority. However, the military junta nullified the results of the election and continued to be in power till the election held on Sunday.

Burmese refugees in Manipur termed the election as a farce. They said that the election was an eyewash to fool the world and also to continue to be in power.“They fielded retired generals as candidates and prevented people from taking part in the election. Because of this discontentment among the people is growing,” he said.

There are about 50 Burnese refugees taking shelter in Manipur presently. Reports said that about 8000 refugees are in India with refugee status granted by UN. The refugees fled their country after the military junta mounted a crackdown on pro-democracy movement in August 8, 1988.

The NLD did not take part in the Sunday’s election maintaining that the election process was not democratic. As a result the military junta disbanded the party, reducing Aung Saan Suu Kyi a partyless leader.

Reports said that activities in Manipur and India by the refugees have stepped up following the release of the leader. Efforts are reportedly on to establish contacts between the refugees in India and their leader in Yangoon for a coordinated campaign outside Myanmar.

Some of those staying in Delhi are planning to come to Imphal for contacts with their comrades in Tamu township of Myanmar, just across Moreh.

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