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Myanmar: Communal Clashes Worsen in Rakhine State


Paper No. 5264                         Dated 26-Oct-2012

By B.Raman

The fresh communal clashes  between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine State of Myanmar, which broke out on October 21,2012, have worsened despite the induction of security forces reinforcements by the Government.

2. While local Government sources have put the total number of fatalities so far at 20, a despatch of the Associated Press of the US has put it at 56. Local sources say that many of the latest fatalities seem to have occurred due to the security forces opening fire to bring rioters from both the communities under control. Arson attacks at nights have reportedly led to the destruction of nearly 2000 houses so far.

3. The areas worst affected by the violence and arson attacks are Minbyar,Mrauk-U,Kyaukpyu and Kyauktaw. Reports from the affected areas indicate that the security  forces, though inadequately numbered, have been trying to protect the Muslims by opening fire on rioting Buddhist mobs seeking to attack the Muslims. This should account for the sudden increase in the number of fatalities.

4. The National League for Democracy (NLD) of Aung San Suu Kyi  issued a statement on October 25,2012, urging the Government to take further security measures to stop the ongoing violence  and re-establish peace and security in townships such as Kyaukpyu, Minbyar, Mrauk-U and Ann.

5.The 88 Generation Students group also released a statement calling on all people  to work together to resolve this conflict, stressing that a solution must be based on democracy and human rights.

(The  writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail:  Twitter @SORBONNE75)