When Nandita Haksar took up the case of thirty-six Burmese prisoners in
Port Blair’s jail, she thought it was a simple case of illegal detention.
But as she painstakingly pieced her clients’ stories together, the case
took on a markedly more complex colour. The Burmese claimed they
had been double-crossed by an Indian military intelligence agent during
an undercover operation in the Andaman Islands. The operation had the
support of India’s intelligence agencies; in return the Burmese were to
receive assistance in their struggle against Myanmar’s military Junta. Yet
it all went horribly wrong: during the operation some Burmese freedom
fighters were shot dead and subsequently the thirty six survivors were
held without charges. The agent disappeared.
Haksar‘s investigation unfolds like a thriller set against the background
of the geo-politics of the Indian Ocean. The rivalries between India and
China, the growing importance of Myanmar’s gas reserves and the
insurgencies in India’s north-east are all critical factors in the chain of
events. Rogue Agent exposes not only the injustice meted to the thirtysix
Burmese prisoners and the extraordinary silence of the state on the
circumstances surrounding the agent’s disappearance but it also argues
that by keeping patriots from the Burmese resistance in jail in order to
placate the Myanmar military junta, India has broken its own laws and has
violated the spirit of its own Constitution.