August Rice Killing Day
Dhaka, 13th August 03: Reports have been
received about the observation of the 13th
August Rice Killing Day across Rakhine
State, in the western part of Burma.
Rakhine people from all walks of life commemorated the day with heavy hearts in
remembrance of hundreds of people killed this day in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine
State, 36 years ago.
As there is an undeclared ban on commemoration of the day
police, army, military intelligence and paramilitary forces including Kyant-phwe (Union Solidarity Development Association-USDA)
have been kept on high alert. Yet large groups of people attended
the Buddhist monasteries in order to say prayers and make religious offerings
in Sittwe and some other towns.
Last year on the eve of the Rice Killings Day, unidentified townspeople painted
the streets and walls of Sittwe in red paint, denouncing the Burmese military
regime’s action on 13th August 1967.
In Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh,
seven Rakhine political organizations in exile commemorated the day with a
discussion meeting. In a statement they demanded four points: (1)
Self-determination for the Rakhine people that guarantees political equality,
(2) Immediate stoppage of the ethnic cleansing imposed on the people of
Rakhine, (3) To withdraw more than sixty battalions of Burmese Army deployed
across Rakhine State, which has been a big burden for the people, (4) Complete
stoppage of the one-sided exploitation of the natural resources of Rakhine
The meeting was attended by about forty participants and was held between nine
in the morning and two in the afternoon.
In 1967 during the rule of the dictator Ne Win the rice of Rakhine
State was exported, without taking
into consideration of the internal demand, to China,
which caused famine across the state. When peace-loving people of Sittwe
took to the streets demanding for rice, the Burmese Military shot hundreds of
the demonstrators and arrested many times more. The fates of the arrested
have never been known. It is estimated that at least three hundred people
were brutally shot and killed while about one thousand have since been missing. #