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Mizos call for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi

25 June 2009, New Delhi (Mizzima) – Scores of Mizo and Burmese activists on Thursday held a sit-in protest in Aizawl, capital of India’s northeastern state of Mizoram, calling for the release of detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

With banners declaring ‘Mizoram for Aung San Suu Kyi’ the protestors held a one-hour demonstration at Aizawl's Temple Square. The protestors expressed concern for the Burmese Nobel Peace Laureate, who is currently facing a trial under charges stemming from the trespassing of an American man into her home in early May.

“We want the Burmese junta to release Aung San Suu Kyi, that is the main purpose of today’s demonstration,” said Ruata, Secretary of the Mizoram Committee for Democracy in Burma (MCDB), the group that organized the protest.

The sit-in demonstration, in support of Aung San Suu Kyi and democracy in Burma, is the second such action organized by MCDB, which was formed in October 2007 following the junta's crackdown on the Saffron Revolution.

Speaking to Mizzima, Ruata said the organization will also send a letter to India's President, Pratibha Devisingh Patil, and Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, through the Mizoram government, urging them to do everything India can in order to secure the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, past recipient of India’s Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding.

“We urge the Indian President and Prime Minister to put pressure on the Burmese regime to release Aung San Suu Kyi as the trial against her is not fair,” Ruata said.

“We also call for the restoration of democracy in Burma and urge India to review its current foreign policy toward the Burmese regime,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ko Htwe, a Mizoram-based member of the Burmese Social Welfare Association who spoke at the protest on Thursday, said the protest was also a show of solidarity for Burma.

Joining the protest were prominent Mizoram political leaders, including those from the Mizo National Front (MNF), Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP), Bharatya Janata Party (BJP-Mizoram), Mizoram Peoples Conference (MPC) and Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), as well as representatives from Mizo non-governmental organizations.

Zothankimi, General Secretary of the Women's Wing of the MPCC, speaking at the protest, said it is shameful and cowardly of the Burmese generals to try and suppress an unarmed, single woman.

Similarly, Ruata, condemning the continued military rule in Burma, said the impact of rights violations by the junta have caused thousands of Burmese people to flee their homes for foreign lands, including Mizoram.

“A lot of refugees have come to Mizoram. That’s the impact of military rule in Burma,” explained Ruata, showing his sympathy towards the Burmese refugees in Mizoram.

He further encouraged Mizoram authorities to show sympathy to the Burmese and not to harass or deport them, as they are merely seeking shelter in Mizoram state.
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