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Racial Unrest And Detained Students Trial Are The News Of The Day In Rangoon - 2003-11-04


On the night of October 24 unknown persons threw stones at Maha Thuwunna monastery in Rangoon resulting in the angry monks throwing stones at a Muslim house near the monastery the next evening. Racial unrest thus began between Muslims and Buddhists in the area.

This initial pattern is the same as the others that took place in Thingangyun township in the Rangoon Division and in other cities like Kyaukse and Mandalay, according to the monks.

In the wake of the unrest, authorities detained students studying for high school and college examinations. They include Kyaw Oo, a university graduate, Kyaw Min Naing, Maung Myo and Cho Too.

Rangoon Division Military Commander has now ordered young monks residing in both Sagaing and Maha Thuwunna monasteries that stand astride the Pazundaung creek on the border of Thingangyun and Thuwunna townships to leave the respective monasteries.

The monks complained that this official action is tantamount to violating one of the eight taboos as prescribed in the Buddhist clerical ethics known as Patt-ta-neik-koak-za-na Kan.

In the meantime, a group of students arrested on 14 July will be tried at a court in Insein Jail Tuesday for the fifth time. The seven students include Aung Gyi, Myo Min Htun, Nan Shin Mun (ethnic Chin national) all second year law students from Dagon University. The others are Bo Than Htun and Kyaw Maung, second year Economics students and Win Htut Lwin, a first year Chemistry student. Another female student Su Mun Thwei was, however, released later.

Insein Jail officials have allowed the parents of these students to send food and clothing to their sons. They could also converse with the detainees on the trial days.

The detained students claimed innocence saying they were not engaged in politics but only in student affairs. No legal representation for the students is allowed at the moment.

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