Thursday, October 25, 2012

Students call for removal of Rohingya villages

Thursday, 25 October 2012 12:56 Mizzima News

Hundreds of Buddhist university students in Sittwe in Rakhine State rallied on Wednesday against Rohingya Muslims as communal tension was at a heightened pitch in western Burma, according to news service reports.

This picture taken on October 11, 2012, shows Muslim Rohingyas standing outside a school sheltering Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in the village of Theik Kayk Pyim, located on the outskirts of Sittwe, the capital of Burma's western Rakhine State. Photo: AFP

More than 800 students joined a rally to call for an end to “studying with terrorist Bengalis” and for the removal of Muslim villages on the road to the university, student protest leader Wai Yan told Agency France Press (AFP) in a telephone interview.

The protest in Sittwe, the capital of strife-torn Rakhine State, followed clashes in nearby towns this week which claimed at least two lives and saw more than 1,000 homes burned in violence between ethnic Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya.

It was the latest in a series of protests by Buddhists in Burma against stateless Muslim Rohingya, who have long been considered by the United Nations to be one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

Communal violence first erupted in Rakhine State in June, leaving up to 90 people dead and tens of thousands displaced, leading human rights groups to warn of a humanitarian crisis.

The Rohingya are viewed as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh by the Burmese government and many Burmese call them “Bengalis.”

Tens of thousands of Rohingya are now living in basic camps, some behind barbed wire in Sittwe, since June's flare-up of violence, said reports.

Rights groups said the Rohingya population is becoming increasingly desperate, with Buddhist monks taking a leading role in stirring up sentiment against them. Protests against Rohingya have occurred in Rangoon, Mandalay and other cities in the Burma.

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