On This Day: Burma Declares Independence from Britain

January 04, 2009 06:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
On Jan. 4, 1948, Burma ended 60 years of colonial rule when it officially declared independence from Britain image
Burma’s Struggle for Autonomy
In June 1945, Burmese soldiers fought with the British to expel Japanese invaders from Burma during World War II.

By the war’s end, nationalist leader Aung San, whose anti-fascist movement had been prominent in the struggle against Japan, had established a political and military power base from which to negotiate with Great Britain. He took office in the provisional Burmese government that formed in 1946. continue

Ethnic veteran political leader Saw Mara Aung dies

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Burma’s veteran ethnic politician Dr. Saw Mara Aung died on Monday evening at his Rangoon residence, political allies said.

Dr. Saw Mara Aung (92), chairman of the Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) passed away at about 7 p.m. (local time), Nyan Win, spokesperson of Burma’s main opposition party – National League for Democracy – said.

The veteran Arakanese politician was an elected member of Parliament from Marauk-U constituent No. 1 in Burma’s last general election in 1990, which the ruling military junta refused to recognize.

Saw Mara Aung, like many of his political allies,was arrested and detained by the military for his political activities and was released in 2001.

He served as Chairman of the Committee Representing Peoples Parliament (CRPP), a committee formed in 1998 to convene Parliament based on the1990 election results.

Nyan Win said, “I heard that the burial will take place on Tuesday morning.” http://www.mizzima.com/news/inside-burma/1503-ethnic-veteran-political-leader-saw-mara-aung-dies.html

saw mra aung


People’s Parliament Chairman Saw Mra Aung Dies (Irrawaddy.6.01.2009)

Burma’s detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi sent a flower basket and five monk robes to the family, according to Aye Thar Aung, a close colleague of Saw Mra Aung.

“He was an important figure in Burma’s national reconciliation and the People’s Parliament,” Aye Thar Aung said. “The place he occupied in our country cannot be filled.”

Saw Mra Aung, a physician, was born in April 1918 in Mrauk Oo Township in Arakan State in western Burma. He received his basic education in Arakan State and Rangoon before going to Mumbai, India, to read in medicine in 1943. He received his bachelor degree there in 1947.

After studying in India, he went to Britain for further studies at the Royal College of Physicians.

From 1955 to 1963, Saw Mra Aung worked in Mandalay hospitals and taught at the medical college. In a medical exchange program in 1958, he studied in the United States and the United Kingdom, and he led a Burmese medical team to China in 1972.

After his retirement in 1978 as a government in-service physician, he worked at two hospitals in Hong Kong from 1979 to 1982. Later, he worked in a hospital for monks and nuns in Rangoon.

In 1988, he was named chairman of the Arakan League for Democracy. In the 1990 elections, he was elected a member of Parliament, winning 62.09 percent of the vote in his native Mrauk Oo Township.

In August 1998, the Burmese military junta arrested many dissidents including Saw Mra Aung, who was held in detention until June 13, 2001.

On September 17, 1998, the main opposition National League for Democracy and its alliance parties, including the Arakan League for Democracy, formed the Committee Representing the People’s Parliament.

Saw Mra Aung was elected chairman of the People’s Parliament, which has served as a symbolic emblem of unity among all ethnic groups in Burma.


1,000 pills seized as Three Pagodas Pass drug traffickers expand their network southwards

Burmese authorities arrested a woman with 1,000 amphetamine pills at her home in Kaw Thaung, Tenasserim Division, marking what intelligence sources say is an increase in amphetamine trafficking through the Thai-Burma border’s southernmost crossing….
Her explanation was confirmed by a source close to an amphetamine smuggling group affiliated with the Karen Peace Front in Three Pagodas Pass, which is loosely allied with Burma’s military government. The KPF group has a southbound smuggling network, he said, though he denied any connection to the pills recently confiscated in Kaw Thaung
continue…. http://www.monnews-imna.com/newsupdate.php?ID=1280

Three Burmese army battalions have been relocated from Mon State to provide security for an incipient gas pipeline in Arakan State, says a highly ranked source in the Sa Ya Pha military intelligence in Three Pagodas Pass.

According to the Sa Ya Pha source, the Southeast Command ordered Infantry Battalion (IB) No. 538, No. 34 and No. 20 to leave their posts in Three Pagodas Township at the end of December. Other local battalions from the Southeast Command are replacing all three battalions.

The relocations are unusual, said the Sa Ya Pha source, which remarked upon the rarity of three battalions simultaneously changing their positions for reasons unrelated to immediate conflict. IB No. 538, he also noted, had been posted in Three Pagodas for just one month, far short of the normal three to six month rotation.

A day before the battalion relocations, on December 24th, the consortium of South Korean, Indian and Burmese companies who control the Shwe fields announced a 30-year contract to sell gas to the China National Petroleum Corporation. continue


Daw Suu sends Independence Day message

an 5, 2009 (DVB)–Detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi displayed a quotation from her late father, Burmese national hero general Aung San, in front of her house yesterday.

National League for Democracy spokesperson Nyan Win said the message was put up yesterday morning.
“She placed a red banner with yellow lettering on the porch of her compound,” Nyan Win said.
“It said, ‘Act decisively for the good of the nation and the people – General Aung San’. General Aung San was written in white,” he said.
“You can say that this is a message from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to all the people of the country.”
The message appeared on 4 January, the 61st anniversary of Burma’s independence from British colonial rule.
General Aung San was one of the leaders of the independence movement and continues to be respected as a national hero.
Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest in her home on Rangoon’s University Avenue.
She recently received a visit from her doctor, but requests from her lawyer to see her have been denied. http://english.dvb.no/news.php?id=2058

Suu Kyi Celebrates Independence Day with Music

On Independence Day this year, Burma’s detained democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has chosen not to stay quiet behind the locked gates of her home where she is under house arrest.

Members of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) said they heard old songs, popular in the pre-independence era, playing in her home.

On Sunday, Burma marked the 61st anniversary of its independence from Britain in 1948.

Suu Kyi has also put up a new red banner, which can be viewed from the street, with words in yellow quoting her father, independence hero Gen Aung San: ”Act decisively in the interest of the nation and the people.”

The NLD, in a ceremony at its headquarter in Rangoon attended by 300 people, including veteran politicians and diplomats, called for the release of Suu Kyi, who has been detained for more than 13 of the past 19 years.

On December 30, nine NLD members were arrested when they staged a protest in Rangoon calling for her release. A commentary in the recent issue of the Weekly Eleven journal says the junta will charge those arrested “according to the law.”

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Monday, Suu Kyi’s lawyer, Kyi Win, said Burmese authorities still have not replied to his request to meet with the detained opposition leader to discuss her appeal against her continued detention. But Suu Kyi was allowed a visit by her personal doctor, Tin Myo Win, on January 1 and she was in good health. continue

Taunggok NLD chair’s jail term extended by 15 years

Jan 5, 2009 (DVB)–Burmese authorities last month extended the sentence of Taunggok township National League for Democracy chairman Min Aung, who had been serving a two-and-a-half-year jail term in Sagaing’s Kalay prison.

NLD spokesperson and information wing member Nyan Win said Min Aung was sentenced to an additional 15 years in prison under the electronics act at a court hearing held in Sagaing division’s Tamu township from 10 to 17 December.
Min Aung was detained by the authorities in October 2007 after the monk-led demonstrations in September and was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison four days later.
His term was later reduced to two and a half years and he was transferred from Rangoon’s Insein prison to Sandoway prison, and then later to Mandalay prison.
In March 2008, Min Aung was transferred to Kalay prison in Sagaing division.
“We just can’t understand this – he has been in prison for over a year and obviously was not able to take part in any [political] activities during that time,” said Nyan Win.
“Min Aung told his father who visited him not long ago that he had been brought to Tamu court where he had 15 more years added to his term for an offence he didn’t know about,” he said.
“It’s like [the authorities] are deliberately making it impossible for these people to leave the prison, and sending someone to jail for something he or she doesn’t know about is not fair at all.” http://english.dvb.no/news.php?id=2062

Private tutor stages solo protest by MIZZIMA

A teacher into private tuitions staged a solo protest in Twante, Rangoon Division protesting lack of genuine freedom in Burma yesterday on the 61st Independence from British rule.

The private tutor U Aung Pe (52) tied his hands with a plastic rope symbolizing bondage and observed two minutes silence, saluting the Independence stone pillar at about 7:30 a.m. yesterday in Twante town.

“The protest took place just 50 yards from his home. He tied his hands with a plastic rope and raised his hands at about 7:30 a.m. yesterday in his ward. Then he saluted the Independence stone pillar solemnly for about two minutes and returned home,” one of his friends told Mizzima.

“He expressed sympathy for those who are languishing in prison when he himself is free by staging this solo and silent protest,” he added.

Similarly he was detained for over a month by Twante Township Police force on November 22 last year on ‘National Day’ when he was on his way to the ‘National League for Democracy’ (NLD) party headquarter in Bahan Township, Rangoon.

He also observed the 20th anniversary of the 8888 uprising on August 8 last year, and objected against vote rigging during the constitutional referendum held in May last year in his ward polling station. He distributed ‘NO’ campaign posters of the NLD by wearing a T-shirt with ‘NO’ letters. After indulging in these anti-government activities, the Twante Township Court restricted his movement starting from December 16 last year for one year.

Moreover he held the birthday ceremony of Independence hero Bogyoke Aung San at the same Independence stone pillar in his town on 13 February 2005 with his 10th Grade students. The next day, the township court charged him with a case under section 23 of the Tuition Law and sentenced him to three years imprisonment. He was released on February 14, 2008.

The township authorities have not yet asked him any question for yesterday’s activity.

The Twante Township authorities also held their Independence Day ceremony starting at about 4 a.m. yesterday which was attended by about 100 government employees and Ward and Village Tract authorities. The participants saluted the stone pillar.

Burma regained independence from British colonial rule on January 4, 1948. The military rulers have grabbed power in a coup in 1962.