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Military Prevent Rohingya Students from Offering Prayers

Report by Sindhi Khan | Written by M.S. Anwar

Maung Daw, Arakan- October 2, 2013

 Front View of High School Maung Daw

On 30th September 2013, some ninth standard Rohingya students of Maung Daw high school went to offer afternoon prayers at the adjacent mosque (known as School Mosque) in Shidda Fara (Myoma Kayindan) village. When they arrived at the mosque gate, what they they saw was that the mosque had been locked down. When they inquired about the matter, they came to know that it was Major Zaw Hlatt Oo, Commander of the Battalion in the school premise, who had locked down the mosque. After locking down the mosque, the major gave the keys over to the village administrator of Myoma Kayindan.

Therefore, the students went to the village administrator to ask for the keys. He replied “I am unble to give you the keys. If I do so, he will punish me. You go and ask from him.” When the students were going to approach the major at the battalion, they saw military were waiting standby with their guns.

And then, the students said to the major “we are here to ask for the keys from you as we were told by the village administrator.” The major replied “do u want to pray? If so, pray by grouping just five people each time. Not more than that.” The students replied “if we pray by grouping five people each time, how can we attend school and our classes? There is no time for that.” The major said “there is a curfew order (martial law) still imposed here. So, I can’t give you the keys.”

The students went back. They approached the major again together with their seniors, tenth standard students. But the major called on the headmaster of the school, U Kyaw Hzaw’ Tun, said “control your students.”

The headmaster called up the students to the meeting hall and said “don’t you, Bengali Kalars, know that you can’t offer prayers in Maung Daw and Buthidaung? Don’t you Kalars know about martial law under section 144? So, how can you pray?” Then, he insulted and abused the students to his heart’s content and asked them to go away.

Similary, most of the mosques and religious buildings in Arakan have been locked down since June 2013. No one is allowed to pray in the mosque.

It is not a rocket science for one not to understand what has been happening against Rohingyas and Kamans in Arakan. A complete block against freedom of religion! Open discriminations and abuses in educational institutions.

On the other hand, Rakhine terrorists backed by the government keep on killing Muslims and destroying their houses in Arakan. Kaman Muslims are facing another round of Massacre in Thandwe township right at this moment.

These are what President Thein Sein callled living in peace and tranquility in his visit to Maung Daw recently. While Rohingyas and Kamans are subjected to face all kinds of discriminations, abuses and atrocities, Thein Sein calls them ‘Living in Peace.’ President Thein Sein, enough of your hypocrisy!