1. Myanmar police kill one in crackdown on Buddhist mob


    National, October 31, 2012


    A long line of Myanmar soldiers, arriving back from the unrest area in Rakhine state, march in Sittwe city, capital of Rakhine State, Myanmar, on Oct 31. EPA


    Yangon – Myanmar police on Tuesday killed at least one Rakhine Buddhist in an attempt to quell a mob seeking to expel Muslims from a village in the troubled Rakhine state.

    The killing happened Tuesday morning after thousands of RakhineBuddhists tried to force a Muslim community in Kyauk-ni-maw village, Ramree township of the Rakhine state, to leave their homes, prompting police to intervene.

    In an effort to quell the mob, a policeman shot dead Kyaw HanShay, 56, a Rakhine Buddhist and injured another man identified asThan Tin, who was hospitalized, Rakhine member of parliament Tin Pe said.

    “The police should have tried to solve the situation peacefully, without resorting to shooting,” Tin Pe said.

    It was the latest outbreak of sectarian-related violence to hitthe Rakhine state in western Myanmar where more than 170 people havedied since June as a result of fighting between local Buddhist and Rohingya-Muslim communities.

    The spate of killings was sparked by the rape and murder of a Rakhine Buddhist woman, allegedly by three Muslims, in Kyauk-ni-mawvillage, on the western coast, the scene of Tuesday’s incident.

    An estimated 90 people were killed and 75,000 displaced by the June fighting. Another 84 people died and 28,000 were displaced by afresh outbreak of communal strife last week, which included the burning of some 4,400 houses.

    Behind last week’s violence appears to be an effort by Buddhist communities to push Rohingya-Muslims out of their homes and force them to relocate to refugee camps.

    There are currently about nine camps in Sittwe township, 500kilometres north-west of Yangon, that have been receiving limited aidfrom the United Nations and French aid organisation Medicins Sans Frontieres since June.

    Myanmar is predominantly Buddhist. The Rohingya, most of whom havelived in Rakhine for generations, are mainly descendents of labourers brought in from neighbouring Bangladesh during the British colonial era.

    An estimated 800,000 Rohingya live in the state’s three northern townships. They have been denied citizenship under the 1982 Citizens Law.

    The Rakhine violence is a major embarrassment for the government of President Thein Sein, a reformer who came to power in March, last year, who has called on Myanmar Buddhists to show restraint in the Rakhine, so far without much avail

  2. Burma violence: Myanmar president says monks, politicians kindling hate


    AFP, August 24, 2012


    President Thein Sein says ethnic Rakhine could not accept Muslim Rohingya as fellow citizens. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE


    YANGON: Buddhist monks, politicians and other ethnic Rakhine figures are kindling hatred towards Muslim Rohingya in an area plagued by sectarian violence, Myanmar’s president has warned in a report seen by AFP Friday.

    In an unvarnished assessment of the role of Buddhists in unrest in Rakhine state, which has left scores dead on both sides and displaced tens of thousands of people, President Thein Sein also said ethnic Rakhine could not accept the Rohingya as fellow citizens.
    Decades of discrimination have left the Rohingya stateless and Myanmar’s government considers their 800,000-strong population as foreigners, while many citizens see them as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh and view them with hostility.

    “Political parties, some monks and some individuals are increasing the ethnic hatred. They even approach and lobby both the domestic and overseas Rakhine community,” Thein Sein said in a report sent to Myanmar’s union parliament – which combines the upper and lower houses – on August 17.

    “Rakhine people are continuously thinking to terrorise the Bengali Muslims living across the country,” he said, using a term frequently used in Myanmar for Rohingya.

    Thein Sein also said ethnic Rakhine could not envisage sharing their land with people they consider foreigners, echoing comments he made in July calling for camps or deportation of Rohingya.

    “They cannot consider a situation in which the Bengali Muslims can be citizens,” the president said.

    A leading Rakhine political party rejected the findings, saying it had already lodged “an objection” over the report to parliament.

    “We don’t agree with their review… such a review should not be released in this current time…, it can worsen the clashes,” said Aye Maung, chairman of Rakhine Nationalities Development Party.

    Myanmar’s authorities have faced heavy criticism from rights groups after clashes between Rohingya and ethnic Rakhine, which according to government figures left 87 people dead.

    In response the government on August 18 announced a new 27-member investigating commission, including religious leaders, artists and former dissidents, to probe the causes of the violence and suggest ways forward.

    The president’s review also found that the economy of Rakhine state had been decimated by the unrest, while both communities are suffering “mental trauma” after the clashes, which saw neighbours turn on each other and thousands of homes torched.

    New York-based Human Rights Watch has accused Myanmar forces of opening fire on Rohingya during the June outbreak of unrest, as well as committing rape and standing by as rival mobs attacked each other.

Live & Die for Buddhism


Maha Ghosananda

Maha Ghosananda

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