Arakan: - One Who Preserves and Takes Care of Their Own Nationality.
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Arakan Action Association (AAA)
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India killed 6 Rakhaing nationals and arrested 73.
A plea for justice.
June 20, 1998
Honourable Prime Minister
Government of Republic of India
Office of the Prime Minister
New Delhi 110011
Subject: India killed 6 Rakhaing Nationals and arrested 73 on
February 11, 1998; This is a plea for justice.
Dear Honourable Prime Minister Sir,
Please accept warmest greetings from myself, my office and 5 million Rakhaing people all over the world. This communication carries our best wishes to you, to your nation, to the people of India and to the Republic of India. We wish you well.
Sir, Please allow me, on behalf of 5 million Rakhaing people, to submit this plea for justice for the sake of those 6 Rakhaing nationals killed and 73 arrested by India. Actual dirty job was done by your armed forces ‘Operation Leech’ at the Andamans, on February 11, 1998. It has been widely reported in your national media. My plea is based upon the report that appeared in the Indian weekly ‘Sunday’, May 31, 1998. The article is herewith attached for your kind attention. With your permission I will present this case before you.
The names of the Rakhaing Nationals and the Karen Nationals killed are:
1. Khaing Raza (Rakhaing)
2. Saw Tun(Rakhaing)
3. Thein Aung Kyaw(Rakahing)
4. Pho Cho or Ran Naing(Rakhaing)
5. Pado Mulway (Karen)
6. Myint Shwe(Karen)
Mr. Prime Minister, India has introduced them into the immortal Hall of Heroes in our more than two hundred years old struggle for freedom and decolonization of Burma. They will be honoured and revered along with our National Heroes – King Bering alias Chunpyun (1784), Prince Hrwee Ban(1834), Dewangri Aung Kyaw Hrwee(1834), Mayor Aung Kyaw Zan(1834), San Kyaw Tun (1977) and Khaing MoeLunn (1977), and hundreds of thousands of unknown Freedom Fighters.
In the following pages I will present this case to you and India.. This is a national issue of our Rakhaingpray and Rakhaing people. I want to ensure you that 5 million Rakhaing people all over the world stand by me in this issue. And I thank you and India for the democracy that allows me to present this case.
Mr. Honourable Prime Minister, in the light of the information I have, I would like to state that Commander Khaing Raza and Commander Saw Tun of Arakan Army and their men, the Rakhaing Freedom Fighters, entered Indian territory under a well established agreement and permission of your authorities, RAW and Indian Armed Forces. As such, they did not violate any law. With all due respect, sir, I would like to demand you and India to honour the agreement and permission that have been made between the Indian authorities concerned and National United Party of Arakan (NUPA) and its armed forces, Arakan Army (AA). In whatsoever form the agreement and permission was made, whether they were made in verbal or written words, they must be honoured. In whatsoever level of authority the agreement and permission were made, they must be honoured. On the basis of my understanding of existence of such an Indian-Arakan Agreement and Permission between your Indian authorities concerned and the NUPA/AA, I would like to put up the following two points of plea to you.
1) To kindly and immediately release all 73 Rakhaing nationals and treat them as your guests as per provisions of the agreement and permission of the Indian-ArakanAgreement and Permission. I also demand that they should also be treated under the provisions of the United Nations and UNHCR and UN Declarations on Territorial Asylum (UN Assembly Resolution 2313 (XXII)), with all due human rights and dignity.
2) To kindly and immediately take action to give justice to those who were killed by your Armed Forces violating the Indian-Arakan Agreement and Permission.
Dear Honourable Prime Minister,
For the sake of justice I beseech you in my capacity of the Diplomatic Representative of Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) as well as in my capacity of Personal Emissary of U Tha Noe, Member of Parliament, Burma. My political-diplomatic credentials and some evidence of professional awards and honours are attached herewith for your kind information.. Our ALD is the 1990 election winner in the Arakan (Rakhaing) State of Burma. As such we represent 5 million Rakhaing nationals all over the world. To look after their safety, their security, their well-being and their rights is my duty.
Sir, In this case of clandestine Indian-Arakan Agreement that consumes our Rakhaing blood and questions Indian national honesty and integrity, please allow me to present our side of the story.
Presentation Part 1. Narration of the Report.
1) It is true that 6 persons killed by your Indian Armed forces are the Rakhaing (Arakan) nationals and they belong to Arakan National United Party(NUPA). I can immediately identify two persons namely Khaing Raza and Saw Tun. I know Khaing Raza in person since 1990 and Saw Tun since 1978. Khaing Raza is the Commander-in-Chief of Arakan Army (AA) and Saw Tun is Vice-Chief of Staff. I understand Commanders Khaing Raza and Saw Tun of Arakan Army and his men were on their mission of transporting logistic support for their army. The Arakan Army (AA) is the military wing of the NUPA which, formed in 1994, is a revolutionary party fighting for freedom of our country Rakhaingpray (Arakan) and decolonization of Burma as a whole. They are the Freedom Fighters. The RAW/Indian Army know it very well.
2) I believe that Arakan Army Commanders Khaing Raza and Saw Tun and their officers and men came to Landfall island in Andamans & Nicobar Archipelago under the arrangement of your RAW/Indian Armed Forces Officers. I know very well about the relationship between your RAW/Indian Armed Forces and the NUPA since Mr. Khine Maung has kept me informed from the day NUPA and AA was founded on the 5th January 1994. Now, Mr. Khine Maung is the Incharge of the Foreign Affairs of NUPA. I know Khine Maung since 1969 when he was a medical student at Rangoon Institute of Medicine No. 1., and I was a Demonstrator (i.e. a junior faculty) at the Department of Zoology, Rangoon University. I know very well that Indian intelligence agency “RAW” has been in touch with our Rakhaing politicians and revolutionaries since 1988. I myself have met a certain Indian diplomat in Thailand and discussed the matters of mutual interest. My close colleague and friend, since the days of Rangoon University, Chairman Kyaw Haling (1949-1995) kept in touch with the Indian RAW personnel from 1988 to 1995 when he died mysteriously at the age of 46 in Bangladesh. He, upon his return from a trip, fell unconscious all of a sudden and died a few days later without recovering consciousness. He was promptly hospitalized in Dhaka, but the doctors and specialists failed to diagnose and determine the cause of his unconsciousness or subsequent death. Kyaw Haling, a law graduate, was the Chairman of the National United Front of Arakan (NUFA) and a Member of the Executive Central Committee of the Democratic Alliance of Burma (DAB). The NUFA was formed in 1988 and transformed into NUPA in 1994. I believe you will be well informed about the DAB. Kyaw Hlaing was our candidate to become President or Chief Minister of our Rakhaingpray if freedom came at that time. It happens that both Khaing Raza and Saw Tun were the disciples of Kyaw Hlaing and, more, Saw Tun is a cousin of Kyaw Hlaing. Now it happened that they were also killed.. This is to point out to you that we Rakhaing politicians and revolutionaries are very much well known to your departments and personnel who are involved Burma affairs and India security. This is to clarify that Khaing Raza and Saw Tun were very well known and acquainted not only with the Indian authorities but also with the concerned Bangladesh and Thai authorities. They were well known Rakhaing Freedom Fighters. The Indian authorities of the responsible departments know them very well. Now, according to the SUNDAY report, they were accused as the gunrunners and shot dead cold blooded by the Indian authorities. To my knowledge the isolated island in A&N archipelago is a regular stop point in their mission. This is not the first time. But this time when they reached there in confidence and friendship, they were betrayed and killed. WHY? They were killed. This is murder. Indian Armed Forces acted in a manner of cowards in this case. I earnestly request you to open full investigation. This event reminds me of the reasons and circumstances that forced me in 1994 to leave Bangladesh, my adopted country since 1977, abandoning all my establishment as well as jeopardizing my wife’s career as a Professor at Dhaka University. At that time, I thought, the threat was only to myself and Kyaw Hlaing who had nowhere to go and he died very unexpectedly and mysteriously in 1995. I cried with all my tears and I do the same now. Events and circumstances indicate that there exists a greater conspiracy against our Rakhaing leadership and Rakhaing people.
3) I would agree with the contents Mr. Khine Maung’s letter that was addressed toyour Defence Minister. I am aware of the shipment of the logistic supplies from the eastern to western front of Burma. As a matter of fact I have warned Mr. Khine Maung to be aware of the Indian Navy and he has assured me that the Indian Authorities are facilitating the transport. He told me not to worry. He talks to me from Bangkok whenever he comes there. He also called me in January 1998 and I also talked to Commander Saw Tun at that time. By the way, who is this Lt. Colonel Grewal who reportedly speaks Burmese?
4) I do not believe the report filed by the R.S. Dhankar et. al. as reported in the SUNDAY. It says, “….Six foreign nationals tried to escape into the adjoining area while opening fire with their weapons on our troops”. I cannot believe this story. Why? Because :-
(1) The Party’s order to all political members and military members is - not to resist any arrest by the foreign neighbour authorities. They are ordered to surrender any weapon if they carry and totally comply with the authorities. It has been traditionally practised since early days of our struggle against the military regime. This was practised when I was a political member of the Arakan National United Organization led by the Commander Kra Hla Aung in 1966-67. It was also practised by the Arakan Independence Organization (1970-1977). It was also practised and is still practised by the Arakan Liberation Party (1969-1998). You may ask local authorities at the border regions. A number of Rakhaing freedom fighters have served long years of imprisonment in India and Bangladesh. There was no history of resistance or escape. Not long ago in mid-1980s a similar accident happened in the offshore territory of Bangladesh. All 25 members of the Rakhaing freedom fighters surrendered to the Bangladeshi local police despite of superior man-power, weapon and firing power they had. They spend more than two years in Chittagong prison. I, myself, was arrested by the Bangladesh authority. I fully cooperated with them. Mr. Khine Maung himself has been arrested by the Bangladesh BDR. He surrendered himself and explained that he was a Rakhaing Freedom Fighter. He was allowed to go to his destination. Another freedom fighter, Khaing Mra Wa, now a member of NUPA, and his associate spent more than five years in Dhaka jail. They also cooperated fully with the authorities. If I remember correctly, a number of Rakhaing freedom fighters also spent many years in Imphal or Shilong prison in 1970s and 1980s.. They also cooperated fully with the authorities. As such I cannot accept the statement which says that the Rakhaing Freedom Fighters ran away from the foreign authority. No, sir, we never do that. We always explain who and what we are, even though it always results in painful imprisonment.
(2) In this particular accident those who are accused of escaping and firing at the Indian soldiers happened to be the leaders only, including the Commander-in-Chief and Vice-Chief of Staff of Arakan Army. As a matter of practice, the Chief and the Vice-Chief never carry weapon with them. It is totally unimaginable that they will have firearms in their hands. If they had weapons and opened fire there would certainly be some Indian casualties. I am sure of this since they were the combat-hardened commandos.
(3) One more simple but most crucial reason is that Commanders Khaing Raza or Saw Tun will never try to escape leaving their army and men behind. They are excellent military commanders trained and battle-hardened as commandos. No, I cannot accept the statement that they or their accompanies escaped leaving their army in the hand of India troops. This never happens.
Dear Honourable Prime Minister,
With this much of statement you will be able to comprehend the conspiracy of Operation Leech. Let me again emphasize:-
Presentation Part 2. Justice must be guaranteed.
1. India has committed a multiple murder. Justice must be guaranteed to their departed souls.
2. There is no doubt that Commander Khaing Raza and his men entered Indian territory with due permission of the Indian Defence/Security/Intelligence agencies. They did not violate any immigration law. This permission must be duly honoured. As such I humbly request you to immediately release all 73 Rakhaing nationals and Freedom Fighters and grant them legal permit to stay in India or go to a safe place or country. They shall not be deported to Burma. They shall all be treated under the provisions of United Nations and UNHCR and UN Declarations on Territorial Asylum (UN Assembly Resolution 2312 (XXII)), with all due human rights and dignity.
India has violating her friendship, understanding and agreement with a Rakhaing Revolutionary party which is struggling for freedom from a most oppressive, repressive and brutal regime in the recent history of mankind. In other words, Great India, a nuclear-power, betrayed a small and weak friend. What for, may I ask? For a fistful ofdollars!? I feel rather sad in anguish because the friendship was initiated by your Agencies.
Dear Honourable Prime Minister,
Please allow me to present legal as well as political considerations which demand that the 73 Rakhaing Nationals should not be deported to Burma, but must be granted political asylum in India or in a third country.
Presentation Part 3. Our Struggle for Freedom.
1. We are the Rakhaings and we are a colony of Burma. Our kingdom Rakkhapura Rakhaingpray
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A plea for justice
By : Dr. Shwe Lu Maung