Rights groups urge India to pressurise Myanmar junta


Aizawl : Rights groups in Mizoram, advocating the restoration of democracy in Myanmar, have urged New Delhi to take a pro-active role in upholding democratic rights in the neighbouring country.

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The Mizoram Committee for Democracy in Burma (MCDB) said the northeastern state that shares an unfenced border with Myanmar has been hit hard due to the alleged ill governance by the military junta. There are an estimated 60,000 immigrants from Myanmar in Mizoram right now.

“Poverty in the Chin Hills of Myanmar has forced people to migrate to Mizoram and many of them have taken to anti-social activities like drug trafficking, gunrunning, and other such things. This is a dangerous trend and Mizoram has never witnessed such things in the past,” MCDB chairman Vanlalngaia said.

Students’ groups in the region have also accused the central government of siding with the military junta for “petty” gains.

Lalmuanpuia Punte, vice chairman of the Northeast Students’ Organisation, said: “For oil and other natural resources, the Indian Government is playing a dual role. On one hand it appears to be very supportive of the pro-democratic movements and at the same time it is always supporting the military junta to meet its economic ends.”

The rights groups allege that the junta is desecrating churches in Myanmar.

“As many as 20 churches were desecrated and about 20 more churches under construction were asked to immediately stop work by the military junta authorities in one township alone,” P. Lalupa, vice chairman of the MCDB, said.

The Women’s League of Chinland, a New Delhi-based organisation of Myanmar women living in exile in India, has condemned the attacks on women demonstrators during last month’s crackdown.

“We request all embassies inside Burma to monitor the peaceful demonstrators and provide necessary help to safeguard their lives and families in prisons and homes,” said Cherry Jahau, coordinator of the League.