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Updated: October 4, 2010 12:33 IST

Suu Kyi's camp in the dark

P. S. Suryanarayana
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File photo shows a man selling key-chain imprinted with portraits of General Aung San and Suu Kyi in Yangon. A supporter of the arrested leader says their camp is no aware of the military government's supposed moves to free her from house arrest after the Nov. 7 elections.
AP File photo shows a man selling key-chain imprinted with portraits of General Aung San and Suu Kyi in Yangon. A supporter of the arrested leader says their camp is no aware of the military government's supposed moves to free her from house arrest after the Nov. 7 elections.

The political camp of Myanmar's celebrated democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi is in the dark about the military government's supposed moves to allow her to vote in the November 7 election and free her from house arrest about a week later.

Her close political associate and spokesman Nyan Win told The Hindu from Yangon on Friday he was not aware of any such developments. Mr. Nyan Win represents Ms. Suu Kyi's now-derecognised National League for Democracy, and the junta has often allowed him to meet her at her lakeside residence in Yangon over the years.

His last meeting with her took place about a month ago, and he has not so far been informed by the military government about its response to his request to meet her again.

The reports about the junta's move to free Ms. Suu Kyi are viewed with scepticism in South East Asia.

Myanmar is in the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

A few years ago, Myanmar's Foreign Minister told his ASEAN colleagues, at their official meeting in Singapore, Ms. Suu Kyi would be set free upon the completion of her previous term of house arrest. Far from honouring that word, the Myanmar junta subjected her to a judicial trial for the first time in her prolonged periods of detention.

She then spent a spell in prison before beginning her present term of house arrest. And, the junta is now reported to have said she would be freed at the end of her current house arrest. And, this has rung the scepticism bells, given the junta's track record.

A question being asked is whether the junta will free her so that she can then hit the international trail to denounce the November 7 election as a sham exercise.

Regional observers have also not missed the irony of the junta's reported move to carry a ballot box to Ms. Suu Kyi's residence so that she could vote in the “democracy-restoring” election.

She has already called upon her political camp to boycott the election. And, this boycott call applies to her as well.

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