Myanmar ruling party lie to covery up their hands in the Myanmar Muslim Massacre by baselessly blaming Communists and subversives

Communists, subversives blamed for deadly Myanmar riots

Eleven Media Group Publication Date : 10-04-2013


A senior advisor to the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party is blaming communists and other subversive elements for the deadly riots in Meikhtila town, central Myanmar last month that left more than 40 dead and 60 injured.

Hardliner Aung Thaung, a well-connected businessman and an industry minister in the previous military government, made the allegations in the latest issue of Thantawhsint news journal.

“There is a group of people behind the Meikhtila unrest that is opposed to whatever we do,” Aung Thaung said, adding that the group included former prisoners and monks. He described the influence of the former monks as “huge”.

He alleged that those behind the riots had also instigated protests against the Letpadaungtaung copper mine project, Kyaukphyu pipeline, Dawei deep seaport, industrial zones and land disputes. Communists had also incited violence in Meikhtila, he said.

Aung Thaung is a prominent figure in Myanmar politics and business. He chairs the Lower House’s banks and financial development committee. His three sons – Pyi Aung, Nay Aung and Major Moe Aung – have also been quick to acquire a reputation for mixing business with politics.

The family is among the wealthiest in Myanmar. Its numerous business interests include Aung Yee Phyo Company and IGE Company Limited. IGE holds the permit to operate the China-Myanmar oil and natural gas pipeline project. It has also received permission to operate banking, insurance, communication, oil and natural gas, low-cost housing and hydropower enterprises.

Aung Thaung has deep ties to the military. He held leading positions in the ruling party’s predecessor, the Union Solidarity and Development Association. Under the junta, he was mainly responsible for Mandalay Region, the Thantawhsint news journal said.

Aung Thaung was also involved in an attempt to assassinate Aung San Suu Kyi during a clash in Dipeyin in 2003, members of the opposition National League for Democracy have alleged. There has been no investigation into the case.

Aung Thaung was industry minister from 1997 to 2011 and is known for his close ties to former senior general Than Shwe and vice senior general Maung Aye. He was among those who held talks with US ambassador Derek Mitchell last month on the Meikhtila

Communists in Meikhtila?

Incitement of a crowd that had gathered following a dispute at a gold shop sparked three days of rioting in Meikhtila last month. Social media sites such as Hluhtu Maung Karlu, Opposite Eye, MMN, Myanmar Express and Platodemo also fuelled widespread rumours which some say enflamed the conflict.

Numerous people have been identified as suspects for alleged involvement in inciting the riots, but critics say the investigation has not been systematic.

“Just making accusations cannot settle the conflict,” said veteran journalist Win Tin. “If there are no reliable persons in the government, there will be a problem. No action needs to be taken against those who were not involved in the violence,” he added.

Win Tin said the government was split between hardliners and reformers.

Opposition MP Nyo Nyo Thin said that it was common in the past for those who were not involved in unrest to be punished for it.

“There is no need to arrest those who were not involved in the unrest,” she said.

Nyo Nyo Thin also pointed out that military officers blamed communists for the 1988 pro-democracy uprising.

Former student activist Khin Nyein Thit agreed that blaming communists was an old trick. “The government said that the Burma Communist Party incited the 1988 unrest. It was not true … The government confiscated bank notes in 1987.
Hostel students came out to protest. The students of those days considered the government as a military dictatorship,” she said.

“We felt insecure about everything. The money we had saved over many years immediately became useless when the government … When the protest occurred, Phone Maw was shot by riot police,” she explained.

Ko Ko Gyi, a leader of the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society group, who visited Meikhtila during the riots, agreed that it did not make sense to blame communists because they no longer existed in Myanmar. “A group like the communists, which no longer exists in this age, should not be blamed for the Meikhtila incidents,” he said.

“I don’t want to say who is who. I think instigations were being schemed in a systematic way rather than being made by a certain organisation. Whenever such incidents happen, an accusing finger should not be pointed at those who were uninvolved. The ongoing incidents are traps, which the people need to avoid,” Ko Ko Gyi said.

Another member of the group of former student activists, Min Zeya, agreed. “Communists had nothing to do with the Meikhtila riots,” Min Zeya said, adding that the problem was the lack of the rule of law.

“The public unrest and violence in 1988 that overthrew the Burma Socialists Programme Party government was not led by communists. The uprising resulted from the government’s oppression of students. I strongly oppose whoever said that the public unrest at that time was led by communists,” Min Zeya said.

Reporters who covered the Miekhitla riots said they found no evidence that communists had orchestrated them.

Photo journalist Khin Maung Win from The Associated Press said rioters threatened him and tried to prevent him from doing his job. “A Buddhist monk threatened me at knife point. I did not know if he was a real monk or not … I escaped death thanks to a colleague who lives in Meikhitla who helped with the town’s religious and social affairs. After he had explained [my job] to three monks they destroyed the memory card from my camera and I was allowed to go,” he said.

“I also heard chants like ‘kill them’, ‘kill them’, ‘torch that car’ from the mobs. I did not know who was shouting as I was struggling to escape. I think there was incitement behind the riots. Knowing that I was a media worker, they interfered in my work, fearing that photos would reach authorities leading to their arrests,” he said.

Meikhtila reporter Wunna Soe of Eleven Media blamed authorities’ poor handling of the unrest and the killing of a monk for the deadly riots. After the monk was killed “some town people and those from nearby villages started rioting in broad daylight”, he said. “There was more looting than destruction. Monks rarely took part in the rioting during daytime. At night, the situation worsened. In the morning of March 23, about 10 young monks and a mob set fire to Chanaye ward. On the final day of riots, most of the locals did not get involved in the rioting as looters from suburban areas took over,” he added.

Eleven Media senior reporter Win Myint Kyaw said that the monks involved in the rioting in Bago Region were described by locals as outsiders.

“We went to Bago Region on March 18 as we heard a group people were destroying a mosque in Zawtika ward, Moenyo Town. We arrived there around 3pm … locals told us that the monks destroying the mosque were not from the town and that they did not know where those monks came from,” Win Myint Kyaw said. “The monks were destroying the mosque together with some locals here, they said. But the local people were uneducated and ignorant. We found some villagers had Buddhist badges and CDs with photos showing the killing of a monk in Meikhtila. They said the materials were given by an anonymous group,” he added.

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