LSR students cheer release of alumni Suu Kyi

Saturday, November 13, 2010

NEW DELHI - From calling it a landmark moment to one that will strengthen democracy in Myanmar, the release of Aung San Suu Kyi has been hailed by students of Delhi’s Lady Shri Ram College, the alma mater of the Nobel laureate.

The pro-democracy leader was Saturday released from house arrest to the cheers of thousands of supporters.

Although Saturday was a holiday for the college, excited students telephoned one another once televisions flashed that Suy Kyi was a free person again.

“It’s almost unbelievable. Everyone was sceptical if it would really happen. It is like a miracle,” Nandini Dey, a final year Political Science Honours student at the prestigious college, told IANS.

Suu Kyi has been placed under house arrest on numerous occasions since she began her political career, totalling 15 of the past 21 years.

She was released after serving an 18-month house arrest handed down by a court in July 2009 for breaking the terms of her previous incarceration by allowing an uninvited US national to swim to her lakeside home.

“We are expecting some celebrations in the college. The students are really happy,” Dey said.

A Nobel Peace laureate, Suu Kyi passed out from the college in 1964 with a degree in Political Science.

The students of LSR have been actively involved in marches and protests for her release.

Malavika Vettath, an alumni of the college, said: “Year after year we have been given the example of Suu Kyi. As students, we took out marches and protests. This is a landmark moment. We are proud to have such an alumni.”

For the students, the release signifies victory of democracy in Myanmar. But everyone is asking what her next step will be.

“I don’t know what she is planning - whether she will stay in Myanmar or opt to leave the country. But it will definitely strengthen democracy there,” said Paloma Ganguly, an alumni.

“It will bring change. I wonder how the Myanmar government will manage this but it will be good for democracy,” Dey said.

Neha Bansal, a student of Economics Honours, hopes it will renew the trust of Myanmar’s people in their government.

“She is a person with a strong political mindset. People in Myanmar had lost their faith in the government. With her release I hope their confidence in their government will go up,” she said.

Some, however, feel dissatisfied that the Indian government did nothing to help the leader when she was under house arrest.

“The Indian government never took a stand. It is about supporting democracy. Even (US) President (Barack) Obama said this in his address to parliament. I am happy that she is free but I wish our nation had a more active role in the release,” said Shalini, another LSR student.

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