IN troubled Myanmar, the rigours of life are finally catching up even with the armed forces. Earlier this < month, six battle-scarred soldiers of the crack 269 Burmese Light Infantry Regiment crossed the Indian border to Mizoram, seeking political asylum. They looked weary and run down and just about managed to escape from their colleagues who were hot on their trail. The Indian Government is yet to decide what to do with the six soldiers, now in custody.
New Delhi has refused asylum but it is not clear whether the soldiers will be deported. Should that happen, the soldiers, Gyaw Moe (radio operator), Khin Maung Wai, San U, Gyaw Naing Lin, Aung Win and Gyaw Moe Naing, can only expect the worst—in Myanmar, execution is the standard punishment for mutineers and deserters.
For the grizzled veterans, fleeing from a summary court martial, trouble began when the junta ordered an anti-insurgency operation in the thickly-wooded Chin Hills province in west Myanmar, bordering Mizoram and Manipur.
The Chins, one of the several...