Myanmar is once again under a military dictatorship after a military coup, just before a day when NLD (National League for Democracy) was set to form the parliament’s government. This coup came when the NLD had already won the general elections in November 2020, with a landslide victory. The military detains President Win Myint and state counsellor Aun San Suu Kyi with many other party officials.
The military has alleged voter fraud and took up the case to the Election Commission of Myanmar. But Election Commission denied all such baseless charges, which eventually led to a coup in the country. General. Min Aung Hlaing warned of a coup last week if the voter fraud is not immediately resolved.
The coup began on the morning of 1 February 2021. The NLD party was deposed by Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s military) in a bloodless coup against the civilian government. Aun San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint were detained in the capital Naypyidaw. Four hundred of the NLD government officials were detained and were told to return to their home districts. The military carried troops, trucks, and armored and personal carriers during the military takeover.
The Army has declared a one-year statewide emergency, after which reelections would be held, and the power will be given to the winner. The country and its legislative functions will be under a junta (military or political party that takes control by force). The power to govern the country has been vested in Commander-in-Chief of Min Aung Hlaing’s defense services, and Myint Swe was declared as the acting president.
Protests have sprouted up in various parts of the country against the military dictatorship. Youth has already seen their parents and grandparents suffer under military rule once before, and they don’t want the same fate for their future. The protests have been peaceful for now, with no police crackdown on the protestors.
Moments after the coup, the internet has been shut down in the country. Internet service is unavailable around major cities. Myanmar has temporarily banned access to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Instagram.
The country was under military rule during 1962-2011, after which democracy was put in place, and Aun San Suu Kyi first formed a government in 2015. Although NLD won the elections democratically for the first time in 2015, the military has considerable influence over Myanmar’s politics, both internally and externally.
Repressive colonial-era laws still dominate Myanmar’s constitution, which is put together by the military. The Army has been given superior power in the constitution. Since the military drafted the constitution, it favours someone from a military background to govern the country, making it almost impossible for a civilian government to maintain stability. 25% of seats in Myanmar’s parliament and three security ministries are under the military’s direct control.
USA, UN, EU, and Amnesty International have urged the ‘maintenance of democracy in the country’ and condemn military actions. The USA has already warned counter-action and government sanctions if democracy is not restored in the country.
Myanmar has already been under a lot of international criticism due to Rohingya Muslim’s genocide by the military in 2017, which has led to extrajudicial killings and large-scale violence against Muslims by the military in Myanmar. During that time, to maintain peaceful relations between her party and the military, Suu Kyi defended the Army’s genocide of Rohingya Muslims at the International Court of Justice. She received a lot of backlash from world organisations. But despite that, Suu Kyi is a popular leader in her country.
India is closely observing the situation in Myanmar. Looking at the country’s political scenario, the Indian embassy in Yangon has warned Indians living in Myanmar to take precautions and avoid unnecessary travel. Almost 7,000 NRI’s are living in Myanmar, while Indian origin people could be more than a million.