India criticised for silence on Burma

May 28, 2009 (DVB), The Indian government has been lambasted by celebrities and former senior ministers for failing to condemn Burma's ruling junta, amidst international outcry over the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi.

At a public meeting in New Delhi yesterday, the Indian government, who head the world's largest democracy and share a border with Burma, was criticized for "maintaining a shameful silence" on Suu Kyi's continued incarceration.

"There is an urgency with which we need to act," said renowned actor and director Nandita Das.

"From the ecology to economy to political freedoms, the destinies of India and Burma are interlinked."

Burma's opposition leader is a recipient of both the Nobel Peace Prize and India's prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding. Past recipients include Martin Luther King Jnr, Nelson Mandela and Yasser Arafat.

"If we are not to make a mockery of our beliefs and the highest award we conferred upon Aung San Suu Kyi more than a decade ago, we must immediately put diplomatic and public pressure to release her," said former defence minister, George Fernandes.

Meanwhile, Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party today organised a candle-light vigil and prayer service in Rangoon and central Burma to show support during Suu Kyi's ninth day of trials.

Similarly, NLD youth members released 64 hot-air balloons in Mandalay's Kyaukpadaung township , Suu Kyi turns 64 next month – while others released fish into a lake near the town's pagoda in a traditional religious offering to bring freedom for Suu Kyi.

Reporting by Francis Wade and Naw Say Phaw

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