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Right decision

Readers' speak: Myanmar military; Canada Proud Boys

The Telegraph Published 07.02.21, 02:17 AM
A member of the Proud Boys

A member of the Proud Boys YouTube

Sir — Canada has now officially labelled the Proud Boys, a far-right, all-male, white supremacist outfit in the United States of America, a terrorist group. One of its top leaders has also been arrested in the US over the Capitol Hill violence that took place earlier this year. It is important to note that the former president of the US, Donald Trump, had avoided condemning this group in strict terms. But outfits like Proud Boys, which are inimical to social harmony, exist in different forms in different countries. Respective governments must take steps to curb their violent activities.

Suranjana Dey,


By force

Sir — The seizure of power in Myanmar by the military in a coup and its declaration of a one-year emergency period, overturning the landslide win by the Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy in the recently held election, has provoked widespread condemnation (“Boots return”, Feb 3). This is an assault on democracy.

The military takeover of power reveals the vulnerability of a fledgling democracy. The military junta held power in the country from 1962 to 2011. The transition to democracy was rather short-lived; it could not last even a full decade. Perhaps circumstances have not been congenial in Myanmar for democracy to take deep root. The recent pogrom of the Rohingya Muslims by the Myanmarese military in Rakhine State while Suu Kyi was tenuously in power projected Myanmar as a country with scant respect for basic human rights. Suu Kyi came in for a lot of flak for her defence of the military crackdown on the Rohingya and her callous disregard for the lakhs of people who had to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape torture and killing. Undoubtedly she lowered her stature as the icon of democracy as she was earlier perceived.

The NLD’s demand to release Suu Kyi and other civilian leaders and restore democratic rule is unlikely to be productive in the immediate future. Powerful military and economic interests are entrenched and ordinary people disempowered in Myanmar. To add to that, the country is torn by strife. As such, there appears to be no real possibility of a popular uprising to force the military to hand over power to elected leaders. The threat by the United States of America to impose sanctions could push the military to move closer to China, which seems to be a byword for self-interest. Whatever the strategic compulsions, India, too, must speak up for a return to the path of democracy.

G. David Milton,
Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu

Sir — It is unfortunate that democratic rule has been stifled by the military through a coup in Myanmar, although the democratic process never truly attained a complete form in the country. The NLD, which got over 80 per cent votes at the hustings, has been denied its chance to rule. In other words, the voice of the people has been ignored to upkeep the interests of the junta. The junta’s stated excuse of electoral fraud as the reason for seizing power holds no water. It must accept that the party that it supported fared poorly in the elections.

D.V.G. Sankararao,
Nellimarla, Andhra Pradesh

Sir — All through Myanmar’s post-colonial history, democratic rule has taken a back seat as it was primarily the military that ruled the country. As such, the recent developments are not so surprising. But India needs to tread carefully as it is an open secret that Myanmar’s army will have close relations with China and this will likely have serious ramifications for the peace process in the region. Recently, in a goodwill gesture, India supplied 1.5 million anti-Covid-19 vaccines to Myanmar. One hopes that democracy is restored at the earliest in the country for the larger interest of the region.

Bal Govind,

Sir — The state of affairs in Myanmar is worrying. All nations must condemn this undemocratic seizure of power. International sanctions might help pressurize the junta to cede power to the democratically elected government.

Pradeep Sinha,
New Delhi

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