Maungdaw, Arakan State: Around 102 shops were gutted when a fire swept through a market in Bawli Bazar (Kyin Chaung) of Maungdaw Township midnight of October 30, said a shopkeeper named Jalal (not real name).
The fire originated from the shop – Motor parts – owned by Mohamed Nasir, son of Imam Hussain, at around 00:30 AM. Two Rakhine youths along with two petrol bottles had been met by villagers near the market at that time, but ran way seeing the villagers and the policemen gave them shelter, our correspondent reported quoting locals.
The fire was doused by local villagers after two and a half hours of frantic efforts, the correspondent more added.
Fire gutted many shops including— cloth shops, gold shops, rice shops, general stores. Department stores, medicines shops etc. Thousands of millions of Kyat has been lost by the shopkeepers due to market fire, according to another shopkeeper named Ahmed (not real name).
The local villagers believe that the fire might have originated from arson attack by Buddhist monks nearby Buddhist monastery or by local Rakhines.
But, Police said the fire originated from accident from Candle light which may be the shopkeeper forget.
According to the shopkeeper, all shops of market are closed around 8:00pm, if someone forget candle light or other lamps, the fire must start between10:00pm -11:00pm. Now, the fire started at around 00:30am. How it possible of careless fire, said a school teacher from Maungdaw north.
The market is very old, built along the side of Maungadw Bawli Bazar road. The road crosses the market from the middle, so some shops are on the western side of the road and some shops are on the eastern side of the road. At present, all the shops were gutted that have been built on the western side, said a local trader who denied to be named.
The local Rakhine villagers with the cooperation of local authorities have been trying to ablaze the market. They are always thinking and trying to destroy the properties of Rohingyas and to give harassment to the Rohingya community. Rakhine community wants reconciliation with Rohingyas in words but not with core of heart, said a local leader on condition of anonymity.
During the burning time, three policemen from nearby camp went to the spot and observed the situation and returned to their camp telling nothing to the people, the leader added.
At present, the local police arrested some of the shopkeepers and brought to their camp and are also looking for other shopkeepers to arrest.