This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
all the people, We are the 34 members of National Unity Party Arakan and Karen National Union, who have been held in the prison named Correctional Home, Kolkata city in West Bengal India without any signification legal ground for 12 years. We have been fighting for democracy, justice, human rights and equality in Burma against the illegal ruling military junta so called State Peace and Development Council that had ruthlessly staged a coup in 1988. 34 Ethnic Freedom Fighters in Kolkata Jail We the ethnic Arakanese and Karen freedom fighters were on our way to India by boats, hoping to build a military base at the Landfall Island in India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands, persuaded by Lt. Cal Grewal of India army. On February 11, 1998 at 8 AM, we found ourselves surrounded by India military, navy and air-force upon our arrival at Landfall Nicobar. We ended up with under arrests, and our leaders namely, Commander Khaing Yarzar, Captain Hmu Saw Htun, Cap. Yan Naing, Phado Hmu Lal, Cap. Lin Zan Khaing and Cap. Myint Swe were executed on the spot in cold-blood by India authority while the Burmese military officials were watching the event from a distance. Instead of handing us over to the local authorities in a legal fashion, we were secretly held in the military cells in Port Blair a city of Andaman island, and ten of us were taken to New Delhi by military plane for interrogation by Military Intelligence MI for a few days. The rests of us were secretly taken to Camp Bell Bay in Nicobar, miles away from Port Blair and hidden there in order to avoid the public and media attention. After that, we were forced to wear Indian military uniforms and secretly taken to Delhi. On February 27, 1998 we were transferred to the local authority and finally put all of us in Port Blair prison on March 24, 1998. Afterward, we were charged - U/S 121A/122/123/120B IPC Section14 of Foreigners Act, 1946-Section 25/ 27 Arm Act, 1959 and Section 5 of Explosive substance Act, 1908- of first information report by Lt. Commander R.S Dhauker at Port Blair Chief Judicial Magistrate (C-J-M) Court dated on February 18, 1998. According to the litigation, we were portrayed as illegal weapon-dealers who traded arms and ammunitions to the Indian ethnic rebels especially in the north eastern part of India. On May 28, 1998 we were granted for bail due to the delays and distractions of the trial process on part of Central Bureau of Intelligence CBI, which was responsible to take on the case against us on behalf of the Indian government, three months later. Though, our detention order was extended for another 12 months under the National Security Act citing that we, as the subversive elements, post the threat to the national security of India signed by I.P. Gupta, the governor of the island. In reality, we were not the threat to the national security of India but the staunch alliance launching joint-operations with Indian army against their ethnic separatists and informing the India army where the Chinese military bases and radar stations located in Burma in stead. We indeed had helped India by feeding the valuable and sensitive information to Indian army with regard to the security concern of India. That was the reason we became affinity
with Indian army personnel up until we were duped by Indian military official causing this mess. While in Port Blair prison, we were locked up in the dark cells at all time, except getting foods and taking showers, without any visitor or contact from outside. On August 27, 1998 a human rights attorney named Hinery Tiphy sent by South Asian Human Rights Documentation Center, New Delhi, was harassed and barred from his request to interview with all of us. He would never be allowed any further visit to our prison again after he was allowed to talk a representative of us for a few minutes. He eventually gave up his job to represent us ever since then. Nothing had done even after 12 months imprisonment until the term of National Security Act was expired. We staged a seven days hunger strike demanding the rights to attorney, listen radio and read newspapers and magazines. Our demands were met ending up with the chance to choose a human rights lawyer named Ms. Nandita Hakasar to represent us on August 28, 1999. With her and Mr. Natoo C.J.M Port Blair’s help, we were released with 10,000 rupees bond per person at midnight, on October 13, 1999. Unfortunately, at the prison gate, the police again put us under house-arrest in a three-story old house, an old government building heavily guarded by arm personnel. There in the old and filthy house, we were allowed to leave the house for only limited purpose like shopping, hospital and the court by the police escort. The routine roll-calls on us were made twice a day every morning and night making sure no one sneaked out. On November 15, 1999 Ms. Vrinda Grouer and a local attorney from New Delhi were assigned to take up our case. Their attempt for five of us to meet with UNHCR representatives in New Delhi was banned by upper court that was under pressure by C.B.I in April 2001. Also, the request of Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) for us to meet two of its representatives was denied by the authority on July 2, 2001. Basically, we were blocked to meet any human rights agent, media or individual by the authority. Even the local people, who were sympathetic to our precarious disposition, were threatened by the authority not to communicate with us. The strict isolation caused us to give up all the fundamental rights. Our rights, since many of us were youths, to study basic skills such as computer, English or others were officially denied. On July 10, 2010 two of our members were disappeared without any further information until today. We also had lost the regional attorney representing us named Ms. T. Vasantha when she was brutally stabbed in the neck and killed in her house under the broad day light on December 1, 2003. Meantime, we had to attend to the court once or twice a month without any substantial progress due to the continuous and systematic delay of C.B.I to present its case forward. The unforeseeable future had led us to make an appeal directly at the court that we were not the gun- runners by any nature but the freedom fighters struggling for the freedom and democracy in Burma. And, we claimed our innocence that we had landed in India in good faith by the invitation of Indian army official. Our repeated appeals were put on hold by C.B.I that asked for more time to complete its investigation. According to C.B.I officials, the lack of cooperation on part of the Ministry of Defense had led them the difficulties to collect the evidences, the material witnesses and the name of the responsible persons to interview in regard to the operation. Since there was no way possible for her to move the case forward, our attorney Ms. Nandita Haksar directly filed a complaint at the Supreme Court in New Delhi on September 17, 2004. On November 16, 2004 the Supreme Court issued a warning to the governor of the Nicobar Island and the C.B.I official that we would be released indefinitely if C.B.I continued to fail to present its claim. C.B.I, then, had decided to bring our case back to C. J. M Court in Port Blair on December
27, 2004. Our question in this case was why the C.B.I that was delaying the trial for almost six years long citing the lack of cooperation by the ministry of defense then was, all of a sudden, calling our case back to hear within a month immediately after the Supreme Court had hinted them to free us? We came to understand that the Indian authorities are stonewalling our case and concealing what had happen to us and our slain leaders. If our attorneys might not have filed the complaint directly to the Supreme Court, this case would have been dragged down to the centuries to come by C.B.I, and we would have been rotten in the confinement for sure. In its charges, C.B.I accused us as the rebels, who were illegally entered into Indian territory with illegal arms and ammunitions, under U/S 14 of Foreigners Act, 1947, 25 (1.B) of Arms Act,1959 and Section 5 of Explosive substances Act, 1908. It was now crystal clear that C.B.I not only covered up the brutal killings of our six leaders but also sided with the military officers, who committed the heinous crime, by spinning the case with these inevitable charges against us. The realization of the C.B.I’s delay and defeat tactic had convinced our attorney Ms. Kamini Jaiswal to request the Supreme Court for the transferring of our trial to Kolkata Central Court on March 30, 2005. As a result, the Supreme Court had instructed the Session Court in Port Balia to transfer our trial to Kalkota on October 10, 2006, and we were sent to Port Balia jail at the same day. On October 30, 2006 we were transferred to Presidential Correctional Home jail in Kolkata. C.B.I citing that we were threat to the public safety of the region had sent a request to the Chief Minister of West Bengal to hear a closed door trial in the prison. And, the state prime minister office had instructed to do so. However, our attorney had organized the human rights organizations in Kolkata, the intellectuals, the legal experts and the respectable persons like Dr. (Col) Lakshunit Sehgal, a founder of India’s female regiment under the leadership of the founding father of India army during the World War II named Subhas Chandra Bose to get involve. And, Dr. (Col) Lakshunit Sehgal had led Solidarity Community for Burma’s Freedom Fighters demanding the state prime minister to hold a public hearing with regard to our trail. Finally, the state prime minister had withdrew his instruction. With an aim to mislead public sympathy on our precarious disposition, C.B.I then launched a smear media campaign among the West Bengal authorities and the local people by labeling us as “dangerous subversive elements”. Therefore, we were poorly treated by the prison authorities, who commanded about 400 prisoners to attack us in our cells resulting serious injuries among us in the prison. In additions, C.B.I and its 18 witnesses continued to delay the trial by giving many legal excuses. For instance, the key witnesses, three officers involved in operation leach had refused to attend the trial by giving personal reasons. Betwixt and between, the Session Judge Ashima Kumar, the in charge of the trial was suddenly transferred leaving us to wait for another ten months for new judge to come. It was indeed an additional effort to delay the trial. Over three years long trial at the session court of Bichar Bhawan, Kolkata starting on January 29, 2007, four judges were switched until the trial ended up with “Plea Bargaining” on July 12, 2010. The process of calling the witnesses, questioning them by both parties and the legal arguments from both sides had taken over six months. Still, C.B.I continued to delay the process forcing us to give up our chance of winning the case hence the trial was thus so long already. As a result, we all 34 of us had finally decided to sign an appeal for “plea bargaining” after face to face meeting with C.B.I that lastly had agreed to end the trial on May 5, 2010. Under the terms of his judgment, the judge had not only failed to order the Indian army to return our properties such as two fishing boats and two speedboats they confiscated but also put fines on us to pay 6000 rupees per each person or 8 months jails if we could not effort to pay. The justice had never been served still. Section 265 B of plea bargaining law clearly stated that the person entered to plea bargaining must serve the one third of his/her actual term. The total of our
three cases – 1. one year and three moths jail with 2000 rupees fine or extra 3moths jail if couldn’t effort to pay for U/S 14 Foreigners Act; 2. One year and three months jail and 2000 rupees fine or extra three months jail if couldn’t effort to pay for U/S 5 B of the Explosive substance Act; and, 3. Six months jail with 2000 rupees fine or extra two months jail if couldn’t effort to pay - should be in total of 3 years jail term that was much less than we had already served for almost 6 years. Still, the judge demanded for 6000 rupees for each up front, knowing we couldn’t effort for it, or another extra 8 months jail. It also was Indian authority’s another attempt to keep us in the jail. We then asked for the return of our bail bonds 10000 rupees for each one of us in total of 340, 000 rupees at Port Blair court so that we could pay for the fines. But, the judge denied upon C.B.I’s request to reject it. However, C.B.I agreed us to apply for the return of these bonds at the upper court that would take for four months or so, not to mention the legal fees for the lawyer at about 100,000 rupees in this regard. During the development of our trial days, our attorney and Dr. Tint Swe a MP of National Coalition Government of Union of Burma came to Kolkata and discussed with West Bengal government that at that time had efficiently agreed to release us. However, it had changed its position three days later before the last trial, and had refused to release us even after the trial since we were illegal foreigners in their country, unless it was instructed either by - 1. The high court; 2. The central government; 3. UNHCR that must recognize us as the displaced persons under its care; or 4. A third country that would officially allow us to migrate there. And, none of them suited us to qualify for the freedom this regard. For instance, the appealing of the high court would take us 6 months to a year. The central government would never instruct to free us since it was the main accuser in this case. Hence migration to the third country required us to be under the care of UNHCR first, we did not even have an opportunity to contact UNHCR in this regard. Also, in order to become the refugees under the care of UNHCR, we needed to go to the UNHCR office in Delhi in person for the interview otherwise the UNHCR officials were not allow to meet refugees outside New Delhi according to the agreement with Indian government. In principle, we and UNHCR had no way possible to meet each other bypassing the red-tape of Indian government. Plus, India’s disingenuous desire to keep us in the jails forever had made it impossible for sure. Politically, India government has been hinting its support for Burma’s sham elections on November 7, 2010 for quite sometime. It might as well have wanted to force repatriate us to military Burma, as its courtesy in support of the new government of Burma via the sham elections. That was another possible way of why it was dragging our case thus long up until the establishment of new government, which definitely would be the same dictatorship in the guise of civilians. And, it would possibly be the worst case of scenario for us to face torture, long term imprisonment and even execution by the most ruthless dictatorship in Asia, if we were forced to return. India’s “look east” policy by appeasing Burma junta had hurt not just the ethnic groups like KNU and NUPA but also all the lives of the fifty five million people, who have been crying for freedom and democracy in Burma for decades. India’s power wrestling with China in the region by appeasing Burma junta by ignoring its role and democratic principle in the world is the ugliest move it has ever made though out India’s history. In our case, even the Indian officials admitted that we the NUPA and KNU members were the freedom fighters fighting for freedom, equality, justice and democracy in Burma. And, we really were invited by the Indian authorities to land in India for good. We were hoodwinked by C.B.I officer Lt. Cal Grewal, the criminal who cold-bloodedly plotted to kill our leaders for the
satisfaction of Burma generals. He was the one who took all our money and trust creating such mess we were in now. India government had not just failed to take action in the first place but promoted him for such obvious crime as a reward instead. In reality, we became the scapegoats for India government to exploit our country’s natural resources, to solve its crisis against the separatists in its north eastern part and to balance its power with China in the region. Again, all the Indian inspectors acknowledged us as the freedom fighters. The honorable and wellknown persons like Dr. Ashok Mitra (West Bengal) the former minister of finance, Sumit Chakravartt (Affairs Weekly editor), Sujata Bhadra, the secretary of (Association for Protection of Democratic Rights) APDR, Dr. (Cal) Lakshmi Sahgal, and the intellectuals and legal experts in West Bengal had viewed us as the political prisoners. However, the Indian government had treated us as criminals and put us among the normal prisoners with minimal treatments. Sadly, we had not even been provided proper meals in the jails. It was a bizarre legal system currently employed by the Indian government. Unlike the prisoners like us, who had earnestly and honestly supported the Indian army on its frontiers, a warlord named Peter Bleach, an English man, who illegally sold arms and ammunitions by airborne to the Indian rebels, was treated like a political prisoner providing with special privileges in the prison. He became the first special prisoner allowed to use a type-writer in the jail in India’s history. His life imprisonment was reduced to eight years and forty four days under the presidential pardon. It was a sad reality of the lopsided legal system of India that treated poorly and prolonged the legal process to us, who had never been factually the threat to the welfare and security of the India. The reputation of the world largest democracy has been damaged in this regard definitely. The friendships among the Indian people and the people of Burma have lasted for centuries. Getting along well as good neighbors, they had helped each others fighting for their freedom from the British colonialism in the past. We, therefore, would like to continue our good relationship with India forward. By the time while we the people of Burma are enduring the dire of economy, social and politics under the military rule, we would like to appeal the help of the Indian people and their government now. We would like Indian people’s support for our justice. We would like to ask for your civic duty as part of the world largest democratic nation to use your liberty demanding the justice for us the 34 ethnic people of Burma, who have been held for more than twelve years under difficult circumstances. We also would like to call for our comrades, ethnic Arakaneses, ethnic Karens and all the freedom fighters for Burma to help our freedom at your best. Truthfully, 1. Soe Naing 2. Thein Aung Kyaw 3. Da Nya Linn 4. Theim Aung Kyaw 5. Khine Soe Linn 6. Khine San Thein 7. Chan Duu 8. Min Tharr Htun 9. Zaw Linn 10. Maw Li 11. Khine Tharr Mya 12. Htun Yee
13. Aung Naing Win 14. Myo Myat 15. Maung Khin Aye 16. Aung Zaw Min 17. Ye' Htet 18. Maung Nyi' Sein 19. Khine Shwe Linn 20. Khine Hla 21. Soe Soe 22. Khin Muang Kyi 23. Moe Min Htun 24. Luu Luu 25. Pho Cho 26. Khaay Thi' 27. Saw Bo 28. Dar Aye 29. Sann Lwin 30. Char Toe Toe 31. Maung Naing 32. Yway Larr 33. Ywarr Hayy Tharr 34. Charr Muu Chay
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.