Washington: A US lawmaker active on Myanmar issues accused the military regime of a ploy to legitimise upcoming elections after it indicated it would free democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.
Officials in Myanmar, also known as Burma, said Aung San Suu Kyi would be released in November just days after elections. She has mostly been under house arrest since 1990, when her party swept the last elections but was not allowed to take power.
"We`ve seen this `catch and release` game by the Burmese junta before -- they release Aung San Suu Kyi to create a facade of change and then turn around and unfairly arrest her again," said Representative Joseph Crowley, a Democrat from New York who has championed the US sanctions in force against the regime.
"If the military junta was really serious about making changes and carrying forward fair and democratic elections, they would release her now, along with the other members of her party."
"Unfortunately, the claim that they may release her is a ploy to legitimise these unfair elections, and further proof that the junta will do or say just about anything to maintain power," Crowley said.
Aung San Suu Kyi`s National League for Democracy is boycotting the November 07 elections, calling them a sham to legitimise the junta`s rule.
US President Barack Obama`s administration has also cast doubt on the credibility of the elections, even though it initiated dialogue last year with the junta aimed at coaxing it out of isolation.
However, India`s national security adviser, Shivshankar Menon, on Thursday said here that the election may be a "significant step" toward democracy. India has also recently switched to a policy of engaging its neighbour.