Thu 27 Mar 2014
Filed under: Human Rights,Inside Burma,News,Religion
About 1,000 demonstrators staged a noisy protest outside the Bangladesh embassy in Yangon on March 26 to condemn a commentary in a Dhaka newspaper that called for a referendum in Rohingya-majority areas in Rakhine State on whether to secede from Myanmar.
The protest, organised by the Rakhine Youth Organisation and also attended by members of the Organisation for the Protection of Nation and Religion and Buddhist monks, was in reaction to the commentary in the Dhaka Tribune newspaper on March 20.
The commentary, by Zeeshan Khan, had suggested that the residents of Sittwe and Maungdaw districts be asked in the referendum if they wanted to join with Chittagong Division in Bangladesh.
The protesters issued a number of demands, including an apology for the commentary from the Bangladeshi ambassador, Mr Anup Kumar Chakma.
Some of the protesters held posters and banners in English reading: “You apologise us at once”, “Get out, embassy of Bangladesh”, and “We fight terrorist bangle (sic)”.
“If someone intrudes our country’s sovereignty, we, the monks would also give up our lives and grab the weapons toprotect our nation”, said the Venerable U Parmaukkha, one of the monks who participated in the protest.
The Dhaka Tribune on March 26 quoted Mr Anup Kumar Chakma as saying that the Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs had summoned him on March 24 to express displeasure over the commentary.
“I told them the media in Bangladesh is free and the content of the article reflects individual’s view; it does not reflect the position of the government,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.