Chittagong, Bangladesh: It was a pre-planned attack on minority Muslims of Burma which created violence in Meiktila on March 20 where the dead toll is 47 Muslim including 11 women, 28 madrassa students and 5 teachers till March 22, according to a press release of Burmese Rohingya Organization UK (BROUK) on March 22.
“Anti-Muslim campaigns have been getting stronger in Burma during recent weeks. President Thein Sein’s government has incited the attacks and ignored the growing anti-Muslim campaigns.”
“A monk, who was arrested for similar acts in 2003 and subsequently released, has been preaching the ‘cleansing of Muslims from Myanmar’ for months, but the government didn’t take any action and it became a violence in Meiktila.”
“It is very clear that security forces are just watching while the mobs are destroying and burning Muslim’s houses. Cleansing of Muslims in Burma is happening under the noses of the international community. These are not communal clashes; this is not equal sides fighting. These are organized attacks to cleanse of Muslims where the vast majority of those killed and displaced are Muslims,” U Tun Khin, the president of BROUK said.
“We call for pressure on the President Thein Sein’s government to ensure that displaced people can return to their original villages safely and freely. We call on the international community to pressure the Burmese government to stop anti-Muslim activities and racism in Burma.”
There should be laws on racism if the government wants to see durable peace in Burma, the press stated.
A Buddhist couple from Meiktila Township entered a Muslim gold shop to try and sell some fake gold and started to threaten and abuse the shopkeeper on March 20, 2013 at 10am.After half an hour, a crowd gathered and started stoning the shop and destroyed it. Two hours later, a big crowd came to the town and started destroying property, Muslims’ shops, mosques and houses were burnt down, according to statement.
“As Burma is manifestly failing to protect its Muslim population, we also urge the international community to use the “responsibility to protect” or the duty to prevent mass atrocities. This responsibility now lies with the international community.”
Besides, “The journalists were threaten by young monks to kill if no destroy the image of Meiktila violence and seized all the cameras from us. After promised, they returned our cameras. In Meiktila, after Muslim, they targeted the journalists. It is not a violence, it may be bigger if it spread to other towns, according to a journalist from 7 days journal who returned from Meiktila.
Similarly, the Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director Isabelle Arradon, said. “The latest reports of violence in Meiktila are very worrying, and show that tension between the two communities is spreading to other parts of the country. There is a real risk of further violence unless the authorities take immediate steps to protect those at risk.”
“There should also be an immediate and impartial investigation into the recent violence so that those responsible can be held to account.”
“The authorities are responsible for ensuring protection of people, their homes and livelihoods. While doing so, they must ensure protection of all communities without discrimination.”
“It is imperative that the cycle of violence is not repeated.”