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Parties invited for Martyrs' Day, Aung San's daughter snubbed

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The military regime invited seven persons from each political party in Rangoon to the 63rd Martyrs’ Day ceremony on Monday, which commemorates the deaths of nine independence heroes including Aung San, but has failed to invite his daughter, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a member of her National League for Democracy party said yesterday.

The day is a national holiday remembering the assassination of Aung San, his brother Ba Win, six cabinet ministers and three others on July 19, 1947, on the orders of political rival U Saw. General Aung San, the father of detained pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi, is considered the father of Burmese independence after leading the fight against Britain, which had imposed colonial rule on Burma since 1885.

The Junta’s electoral watchdog, the Union Election Commission (UEC), invited at least 20 parties from Rangoon Division whose registration it had approved to a meeting on Wednesday night and presented invitations to seven members from each party to attend the ceremony at the Matyrs’ Mausoleum near Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon.

NLD party central executive committee member Ohn Kyaning and Suu Kyi’s lawyer Kyi Win told Mizzima the commission had failed to invite Suu Kyi to the ceremony.

“We are not aware of any invitation being offered Daw Aung San Suu Kyi”, Ohn Kyaing said, using the Burmese honorific for women.

Suu Kyi has been able to attend this ceremony only total of only eight times in her life: in 1988; six times from 1995 to 2000; and 2002. Since her house arrest in 2002, she will have missed the ceremony eight times after Monday.

“The executive order issued by [junta leader] Senior General Than Shwe, which commuted her prison term by half, says the prison term was reduced as she is the daughter of national leader Bogyoke Aung San,” Ohn Kyaing said, using the title of “General” for Burma’s independence leader. “On this Martyrs’ Day, she too should be invited to give her the chance of paying homage to her fallen father. It’s unfair.”

Suu Kyi’s counterpart at the Diversity and Peace Party, general secretary Nay Myo Wei, confirmed details of the meeting held by the Rangoon office of the commission.

“The parties were told that they could send seven persons from each party to this ceremony. Our party will attend,” Nay Myo Wei told Mizzima.

At least 20 parties in Rangoon Division granted registration by the UEC must send a list of representatives who will attend the ceremony containing their national ID numbers to the commission’s divisional office no later than today, he said.

The party envoys will be permitted to lay wreaths at the ceremony but must send bouquets and floral baskets in advance for inspection by the authorities. The commission is also allowing representatives to wear uniforms where applicable.
Sources said most of the parties invited will attend the ceremony.

The generals from Burma’s Council of State used to attend this ceremony but last year, only Rangoon City mayor Brigadier General Aung Thein Lin was present.

Chin National Party, which has its head office in Insein Township, said it would be unable to attend as members were preoccupied with an election campaign tour of Chin State.

“We will kick off our election campaign to Chin State tomorrow so we will not attend this ceremony”, party chairman Pu Zo Zam said.

Under the rule of the State Law and Order Restoration Council led by Senior General Saw Maung, the junta also invited parties to the ceremony in 1990. After 20 years, the ruling State Peace and Development Council is following suit.

The NLD party led by Suu Kyi planned to hold its own Martyrs’ Day ceremony this year at the residence of party vice-chairman Tin Oo, a party source said.

The nine Burmese independence leaders: Aung San, Thakin Mya, Mahn Ba Khaing, the Saopha of Mong Pawng – Sao Sarm Htun, Abdul Razak, Ba Cho, Ba Win, Ohn Maung and bodyguard Maung Htwe; were gunned down on July 19, 1947 by men in uniform while their shadow cabinet meeting was in progress at “The Secretariat” in Rangoon, just months before Burma gained independence in January, 1948.

The assassinations were planned by a rival political group led Galon U Saw. He and the gunmen were tried and convicted by a special tribunal, which on December 30, 1947 sentenced U Saw and a few others to death. The rest were given prison sentences. Appeals to the High Court by U Saw and accomplices were rejected on March 8, 1948.

First President of Burma Sao Shwe Thaik refused to pardon or commute the sentences of most of those sentenced to death, and U Saw was hanged at Rangoon’s Insein jail on May 8, 1948. A number of perpetrators met the same fate.

Two British officers were also arrested and one was convicted for supplying an agent of U Saw with hundreds of machine guns and ammunition, a large part of which was recovered from a lake next to U Saw’s house immediately after the shooting.

Last Updated ( Friday, 16 July 2010 18:44 )  

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