Daily News-May 28 - 2001- Monday

  • Burma's pro-democracy league celebrates eleventh anniversary
  • Religious Riots Spread Through Central Burma
  • 3 Rakhain youths arrested: Bullets recovered
  • Burma veterans mark their 50th anniversary today at the Cenotaph

  • Burma's pro-democracy league celebrates eleventh anniversary

    27/05/01 | ABC Radio Australia News

    Burma's National League for Democracy has held an anniversary meeting at party headquarters in Rangoon to commemorate its landslide victory in Burma's general elections 11 years ago.

    The NLD, lead by Aung San Suu Kyi, won the May 27, 1990 election in the country by an overwhelming majority, taking 392 of 485 seats, but was barred from taking power by the military.

    At the meting, attended by nearly 400 members, party secretary U Lwin said the country is faced with political, social and economic problems due to failure by the government to honor the election results.

    Suu Kyi, secretary general of the NLD, now the nation's largest opposition party, did not attend the meeting, as she has been under house arrest since being forcibly removed from a sit-in at the Rangoon central railway station in Setember.

    Unlike previous anniversary gatherings, police were not seen near party headquarters during the NLD meeting that ended peacefully in around two hours.
    Religious Riots Spread Through Central Burma

    By Min Zin
    source : The Irrawaddy News Magazine

    May 26, 2001--Anti-Muslim riots that started in Taungoo, a major transit center between Rangoon and Mandalay, on May 15 continue to spread to other towns throughout central Burma. According to various sources, curfews have been imposed on several towns and cities in the area, including Pegu, Prome, Oktwin, Taungoo and Taunggyi.

    "A curfew was declared on Thursday (May 24) as soon as anti-Muslim clashes broke out in the downtown sector," said one resident of Pegu, a large city about 80 km northeast of the capital Rangoon. "Some crowds threw stones at cars and trains carrying Muslim passengers," continued the resident.

    While there have been no confirmed reports of casualties from this latest flare-up of religious violence, it appears that the worst is far from over. According to one source, fierce clashes that broke out on May 22 in the Mergui Division town of Taungtwingyi, about 200 km northwest of Taungoo, havecontinued unabated. All road and phone connections to Taungtwingyi have been cut off in an effort to contain the violence, the source added.

    Meanwhile, senior Buddhist abbots in major cities have called meetings to instruct the heads of local monasteries to keep young monks in their compounds. According to one Rangoon-based journalist, monks in the capital have been temporarily forbidden to travel outside of the city, and religious sermons and ceremonies in all major cities have been put on hold.

    So far, however, the atmosphere in the capital remains calm, according to residents. "Buddhist people here are quite aware of the fact that the Military Intelligence is usually behind religious violence, so they are not so easily manipulated," said one Muslim resident of Rangoon. "But that doesn't mean thesituation is totally safe here for Muslims and mosques," he added.

    According to recent reports carried by the Washington-based Radio Free Asia's Burmese-language service, around thirty people have been killed and more than sixty homes destroyed in Taungoo and surrounding areas alone since the violence started. It is still unclear what sparked the unrest more than ten days ago.
    3 Rakhain youths arrested: Bullets recovered

    The Daily Star

    UNB, Cox's Bazar- Bangladesh Rifles detained two Rakhain youths along with 473 live bullets from a bus on Teknaf Highway on Thursday.

    Sources said BDR men searched a Cox's Bazar-bound bus at about 8 pm and seized the ammunition from Mongcathing, 25, and Ray Aung, 22, of Bouddha Mandir and Rice Bazar Road in the town. The bullets were found wrapped around their waist.Police alter arrested another Rakhain youth, Mong Chen Ching, 20, following their confessional statement.

    The three are linked with an organised arms smuggling group and they brought the bullets here from Myanmar, police said. Police said the arrested had admitted their involvement in bullet smuggling.

    The Rakhain youths told newsmen that they had been involved in ammunition smuggling for an arms trader of Nila Rakhain Para in Teknaf. They said they got Tk 2,000 each daily for carrying ammunition from Teknaf border to the town.

    The arrested were produced before a first class magistrate who granted them a five-day police remand. An arms case was filed against them.

    BDR on March 4 arrested a smuggler, Nurussafa, from village Nila in Teknaf, allegedly for smuggling in 125 rounds of bullet from Myanmar.
    Burma veterans mark their 50th anniversary today at the Cenotaph

    By Macer Hall
    The Daily Telegraph

    VETERANS of the Second World War's "Forgotten Army" will march together for the last time today to commemorate the courage and sacrifice of the troops on the battlefields of the Far East.

    The Burma Star Association, set up to preserve the comradeship of the jungle campaign, will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a parade at the Cenotaph in Whitehall and a service at Westminster Abbey. Prince Philip, who served as a naval officer in the Burma campaign and is now a patron of the association, is expected to attend the ceremony. Today's gathering will be the last because of the decline in membership.

    Douglas Burford, the chairman of the Epsom branch of the association and a former Royal Engineer, said: "It will be a poignant occasion, but it always is. Numbers have been dwindling over the years, with many people now in their eighties. We will, of course, continue to provide charity and welfare for our members." In keeping with tradition, the Kohima Epitaph will be recited. Inscribed on a battlefield memorial where the British 2nd Infantry Division suffered heavy losses but halted the Japanese advance, it reads: "When you go home, tell them of us and say, for their tomorrow, we gave our today."

    Servicemen were given the "Forgotten Army" name when they returned from Asia months after the VE Day celebrations and the nation was too preoccupied with domestic issues to give them an official welcome.

    The veterans had to suffer widespread ignorance about their role in the Allied victory, in which 16,667 British troops were killed or were missing in action. It was even a problem as early as 1945 when Errol Flynn starred in Objective Burma!, a film depicting the Burma campaign as an exclusively American operation. The film was withdrawn in Britain.

    Six years ago, the nation finally gave the Burma veterans deserved recognition when huge crowds turned out in London for the 50th anniversary of VJ Day.