By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net,
New Delhi: Amidst spreading anger among Muslims in India over the killings of Muslims in Myanmar, the Embassy of Myanmar in New Delhi has come up with first official and detailed explanation about the violent clashes, its origin and the measures the Government of Myanmar has adopted to control the situation and provide relief to the victims.
According to Myanmar Ambassador Zin Yaw, what has happened recently in the Rakhine State of Myanmar was violent clashes and riots between Buddhists and Muslims in the state – it was not one-sided killing of Muslims by another group with the support of the state. According to Yaw, only 79 persons comprising members of both communities have been killed in the riots that started on 30th May 2012. He termed the photos of mass killings of Muslims as fake and described the reports as baseless accusations. He further said that the violent clashes began after the rape and murder of a Buddhist girl by three Muslims in Rakhine State on 28th May.
The ambassador has made this clarification in reply to a letter by Dr Tasleem Ahmed Rahmani, President, Muslim Political Council of India. Mr. Rahmani had written to the ambassador on 19th July seeking appointment for a meeting of Muslim leaders with the ambassador over the reported killings of Muslims in Myanmar.
“A delegation of Indian national Muslim Organizations of including Jamaat-e Islami Hind, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, Jamiat Ahle Hadees, Jamiat Ulama-e Hind, Muslim Political Council of India and others are anxious to meet you at the earliest possible convenience in the light the of the reports pouring in through all media sections regarding mass killings and persecution of Burmese Rhongya Muslims in Arakan region of Myanmar,” wrote Mr. Rahmani in the letter.
“Indian Muslims feel very upset over such reports. Before making any move to contact international human rights organizations and our own government, we feel it is imperative to have a first hand and direct version from you,” he had further said in the letter.
In response to the letter, the ambassador of Myanmar, Zin Yaw sent him a three-page letter on 20th July.
Main points of the letter of Myanmar ambassador
-- On 28 May this year, a Rakhine Buddhist girl was raped and killed by three Muslims in Kyaukpyu district of Rakhine State. The perpetrators were arrested and put in police custody.
-- On 30 May, 100 people including relatives of the girl and villagers came to the police station asking police to hand over the accused to them. Police refused and opened fire to disperse the mob.
-- On 3 June in a town called Taunggup, a group of about 300 Rakhine Buddhists attacked 10 Muslim passengers on a bus travelling to Yangon. All 10 were killed on the spot. This led to violent clashes between Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims. The situation went out of control.
-- Curfew was imposed by the State Government on 8 June 2012. However, clashes continued. State of Emergency was declared in Rakhine State by the Union Government on 10 June. Army was called in to control the situation. The situation is now back to normal completely.
--During the clashes, both Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims, 79 persons in total, were killed and many injured. It is totally untrue that hundreds or thousands have been killed and that those killed were Muslims. The deaths were caused by either group to each other, not by others. Houses and property worth millions of dollars were destroyed. Thousands of victims have become homeless.
-- The government formed on 6 June 2012 an Investigation Committee headed by the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs to investigate all aspects of the unfortunate incident and submit a report to the President.
-- 30 Rakhine Buddhist suspects have already been detained so far.
-- Relief camps, 72 in total, have been set up separately for Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims. Basic needs of food, clothing and medicines of the victims have been met by the government.
-- In coordination with the government, UN agencies in the country, including UNHCR, UNFPA, WFP and UNOCHA, and INGOs have also been providing humanitarian assistance to the victims.
--Lt. Gen. Thein Htay, Union Minister for Border Affairs and for Myanmar Industrial Development, accompanied by Mr. Vijay Nambiar, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General, officials from UN agencies, 15 Muslim leaders from Yangon visited Rakhine State recently.
Full text of the letter of Myanmar ambassador: