Burmanet » South China Morning Post: Rescue of arrested four-year-old fails
New Delhi: Attempts by India-based pro-democracy activists to take a four-year-old out of Myanmar failed when military agents guarding the child intercepted them after they secretly entered the country.
Because her father was a pro-democracy activist and supporter of 1991 Nobel prizewinner Aung San Suu Kyi, Ei Po Po in January became the youngest prisoner in military ruled Myanmar when she was picked up by security forces while visiting her grandparents in the country’s north. Her father has been sentenced to death and her mother handed a five-year jail term for “anti-national” activities.
“Born in India and living with her parents, Ei attended a nursery school in Manipur. But in Myanmar it is impossible for her impoverished grandparents to take her to another nursery school. [Myanmese] authorities did not even allow her aunt to bring the child back to India where she could return to her old school. It is ruthless,” said Burma Solidarity Organisation activist Dr Thura, who has one name.
Ma Cho - Ei’s aunt, living as a refugee in northeast India’s Manipur state - visited Myanmar last month to take her niece back to India, but was unable to meet the child, who was under the constant watch of security agents. “I could not even enter [her village of] Yan Lem Phai. From friends in a nearby village, I knew that outsiders visiting the house [of Ei’s grandparents] needed permission from the local military authority. Fearing for my own security I returned to India,” she said.
Dr Thura said: “The four-year-old child is under virtual house arrest. Burmese agents are keeping a constant watch on her. She is not free to move. She cannot even go out of Yan Lem Phai, let alone out of Myanmar.”
An attempt to rescue the child this month failed when an activist from the group was intercepted by agents inside Myanmar. The activist escaped and returned safely to India.
“We had a plan to present Ei in front of the international media in India or Thailand. Somehow, Burmese military intelligence got to know about our plan and took the decision not to let the child out of Burma,” Dr Thura said. “This is the simple reason why they have thrown the ring of security around the child now.”
Mrs Cho said: “It is impossible to bring the child back to her school in India now. We pray that she gets back her mother after five years. But again there is a possibility that the mother and child will not be allowed to leave Burma then. The child is facing a bleak uncertainty.”