Manipur – 3 commandos suspended for beating up a patient


PTI  Imphal, June 04, 2013

Three police commandos were suspended for allegedly beating up a patient and five others, who were accompanying him, on the way to a hospital in Bishenpur district of Manipur, police said on Tuesday.

The suspension order of sub-inspector Bung Singh and two constables (all commandos) was issued by the Superintendent of Police of Bishenpur district Radheshyam Singh on Monday.

Khwairakpam Paka (32), under acute pain following detection of stones in his kidney, and his five companions including a woman, were beaten up by the three policemen in an inebriated condition when Paka was being taken from his home at Thanga to a private clinic in Imphal at around 10 pm on Saturday, police said.

Different social organisations had complained to the police about the incident. Three Manipur Rifles personnel and one jawan of India Reserve Battalion were also allegedly involved in the incident.

Respective commanding officers of the Manipur Rifles personnel and IRB jawan have been informed to take action against them, the sources said

 

Two child limit imposed on Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya #Vaw #WTFnews


New measure, which applies to Muslim Rohingya families in western Rakhine state, does not affect Buddhists in the area.
Last Modified: 25 May 2013 14:34
Authorities in Myanmar‘s western Rakhine state have imposed a two-child limit for Muslim Rohingya families, a policy that does not apply to Buddhists in the area, and comes amid accusations of ethnic cleansing in the aftermath of sectarian violence.

Local officials said on Saturday that the new measure would be applied to two Rakhine townships that border Bangladesh and have the highest Muslim populations in the state.

The townships, Buthidaung and Maundaw, are about 95 percent Muslim.

The unusual order makes Myanmar perhaps the only country in the world to impose such a restriction on a religious group, and is likely to fuel further criticism that Muslims are being discriminated against in the Buddhist-majority country.

China has a one-child policy, but it is not based on religion and exceptions apply to minority ethnic groups.

India briefly practised forced sterilisation of men in a bid to control the population in the mid-1970s when civil liberties were suspended during a period of emergency rule, but a nationwide outcry quickly shut down the programme.

‘Overpopulation causes tension’

Rakhine state spokesman Win Myaing said the new programme was meant to stem rapid population growth in the Muslim community, which a government-appointed commission identified as one of the causes of the sectarian violence.

Although Muslims are the majority in the two townships in which the new policy applies, they account for only about 4 percent of Myanmar’s roughly 60 million people.

The measure was enacted a week ago after the commission recommended family planning programs to stem population growth among Muslims, Win Myaing said.

The commission also recommended doubling the number of security forces in the volatile region.

“The population growth of Rohingya Muslims is 10 times higher than that of the Rakhine (Buddhists),” Win Myaing said. “Overpopulation is one of the causes of tension.”

Sectarian violence in Myanmar first flared nearly a year ago in Rakhine state between the region’s Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya.

Mobs of Buddhists armed with machetes razed thousands of Muslim homes, leaving hundreds of people dead and forcing 125,000 to flee, mostly Muslims.

Witnesses and human rights groups said riot police stood by as crowds attacked Muslims and burned their villages.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has accused authorities in Rakhine of fomenting an organised campaign of “ethnic cleansing” against the Rohingya.

 

Handbook for Bloggers and cyber- dissidents #mustshare


via @ConQueso1

Bloggers cause anxiety. Governments are wary of these men and women, who are posting news, without being professional journalists. Worse, bloggers sometimes raise sensitive issues which the media, now known as “traditional”, do not dare cover. Blogs have in some countries become a source of news in their own right.

Nearly 120,000 blogs are created every day. Certainly the blogosphere is not just adorned by gems of courage and truth. It is also often the source of confusion and dis-information and not all bloggers have the souls of reporters. That is why this handbook contains advice on creating and updating a blog, with no other ambition than that of free expression. For others it will be a struggle to draw attention to a particular issue. The first concern therefore is to make a publication visible (see the Jotman article). This hand-book also suggests ploys to get your blog well referenced online (see the Olivier Andrieu article) as well as “editorial” recommendations (Get your blog to stand out, by Mark Glazer).

Let’s acknowledge that blogs are a fantastic tool for freedom of expression. They have unloosed the tongues of ordinary citizens. People who were until now only consumers of news have become players in a new form of journalism, a “grassroots” journalism, as expressed by Dan Gillmor (Grassroots journalism — see the chapter What ethics should bloggers have?), that is “by the people for the people”. Blogs are more or less controllable for those who want to keep them under surveillance. Governments that are most up to do date with new technology use the most sophisticated filtering or blocking techniques, preventing them from appearing on the Web at all. But bloggers don’t just sit back and let it happen. The essential question becomes how to blog in complete safety. With a normal IP address, a blogger can be tracked down and arrested. Anonymity allows them to keep their freedom (See “How to blog anonymously).

In countries where censorship holds sway, blogs are sometimes the only source of news. During the events in Burma in the autumn of 2007, pitting monks and the people against the military junta, bloggers were the main source of news for foreign journalists. Their video footage made it possible to gauge the scale of the protests and what demonstrators’ demands were. For more than two months, marches were held in the streets, then a massive crackdown was launched against opponents that only the Burmese were able to show, so hard did it become for the few foreign journalists who managed to enter the country to get back out with their footage. And bloggers could not get the footage out without getting round online censorship imposed by the government.

This handbook seeks to help every blogger to fill in the “black holes” In news. The second part is devoted to techniques which can thwart filtering technology (Choosey our method to get round censorship by Nart Villeneuve). With a little good sense and persistence and above all finding the technique best suited to the situation, every blogger should be capable of shaking off censorship.

Clothilde Le Coz
Head of the Internet Freedom desk

Note Anonymiss Express: contains

46 HOW TO BLOG ANONYMOUSLY WITH WORDPRESS AND TOR by Ethan Zuckerman
54 TECHNICAL WAYS TO GET ROUND CENSORSHIP by Nart Villeneuve
71 ENSURING YOUR E-MAIL IS TRULY PRIVATE by Ludovic Pierrat
75 THE 2008 GOLDEN SCISSORS OF CYBER-CENSORSHIP by Clothilde Le Coz

Read it on scribd and download

 

Outbreak of Violence of in Mumbai – ASSAM AND BURMA KILLING OF MUSLIMS- #mustread


 

English: , a prominent Indian muslim scholar i...

English: , a prominent Indian muslim scholar in a seminar in Pune University. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OUTBREAK OF VIOLENCE IN MUMBAI – ASSAM AND BURMA KILLING OF MUSLIMS

 

Asghar Ali Engineer

 

(Secular Perspective August 16-31, 2012)

 

The way things were happening for last few weeks it was not surprising that violence on such scale took place. It was, as if, in store, large scale propaganda was going on that Muslims are being killed all over the world. There is conspiracy to kill Muslims everywhere and on Bodo-Muslim clashes and about Rohingiyah Muslims in Burma prayers were being organized in every mosque and SMSs were circulating about it. Urdu papers were carrying articles saying there is world-wide conspiracy to kill Muslims. Articles simply appealing to emotions, not to reason.

 

I have not seen any sober and analytical article in the Urdu press in Mumbai. The Muslim leadership was creating a psychology of victimhood in the minds of Muslims and pent up emotions were waiting to explode with some triggering event. The photographs about killing of Muslims in Burma had greatly disturbed the Muslim youth. All photographs, I must say, were not authentic but they circulated on large scale and ignited emotions.

 

Muslim leadership which hardly does anything for the real welfare of the community always has an eye on such sensitive situations and wants to grab the opportunity to enhance their own interests. Also, mosques were used to announce about rally giving it further religious colour. For those who go to mosques to pray, in large numbers, particularly in the holy month of Ramadan, are gullible and the moment religious colour is given to an issue they become extra-sensitive.

 

These religious leaders and also some non-religious leaders of Muslims neither fully understand the problem what is the conflict about nor they care to know the facts what is going on the ground. They simply make it a case of conspiracy against Muslims. In Azad Maidan too where rally was organized despite knowing that huge crowd is there with all sorts of people, including anti-social elements, the speakers made highly emotional speeches especially attacking media for not covering killing of Muslims in Burma. Then what more do you want to incite emotions for anything to happen.

 

It was not only question of managing the crowd; it was utterly irresponsible act on the part of leadership of the rally. If they had expected only 1500 persons to come and 50,000 turned up the leaders should have clearly understood that situation can get out of control any time as they were simply dealing with raw emotions. A wise leadership would not have allowed highly emotional speeches in the midst of such huge crowd and fuel emotions further.

 

It is also not correct to say that they expected only 1500 people to turn up as they were making announcements inside the mosque on Friday and also posters were put up. It means they aimed higher and made efforts to mobilize large number of people and succeeded in it. Ideal thing would have been to have a dharnaby about 1000-1500 seriously interested people for a day long dharna and then they could have met Chief Minister or Home Minister. There was no need at all for such a huge rally.

 

And if at all such a huge rally was organized why such emotional speeches were made? They should have understood the sensitivity of the problem. But then if they did, how can they be Muslims leadership without arousing religious sentiments? In fact as far as Assam is concerned hardly any one of those who actively organized the rally knew anything about the nature of conflict except that Muslims were killed.

 

What was the history of Bodo-Muslim conflict in Assam? Bodos are not killing Muslims because of their Muslimness but the fundamental problem is of land. Bodos are in conflict with other communities also like Adibashis, Santhals and others and they have come in conflict with all these communities. Though it is not true that Bangla Deshis are migrating in large numbers (this is largely the Sangh Parivar propaganda) by unfortunately Bodos, in order to fulfill their ambition of Bodo-land and for evicting Bengali Muslims and other ethnic communities from the 4 districts of Bodo Territorial Council, are using this propaganda for their own purposes. One can of course blame the Congress Government for giving Bodos BTC to buy peace with militant Bodo outfits. They should not have without taking other ethnic communities in confidence and giving them proper representation. We have dealt with this issue on our last article on Bodo-Muslim riots in Kokrajhar and other districts.

 

As for Rohingiyah Muslims it is the Military Government of Myanmar which is to be blamed. I visited Rangoon after the recent riots and interviewed large number of Rohingya Muslims. No such problem existed until 1981. They were treated as regular citizens and had voting rights. It was the Military Government of Myanmar which suddenly and without any proper reason, took away their papers from them and tried to expel them from Rakhine district of Western Myanmar.

 

It treats these Muslims as foreigners and wants Bangla Desh to settle them in its territory which is totally unjust. Rohingya Muslims have been in that province for centuries and there is no case to describe them as outsiders. Most of them had settled there with Muslim rule. But the Military Government of Myanmar has been killing Burmese of other provinces too and killed several Buddhist monks also during pro-democracy demonstrations.

 

It is true that some Buddhist monks have issued pamphlets against Rakhine Muslims to show solidarity with their co-religionists which they should not have done. But then like others Buddhists monks also are getting politicized as their pro-democracy demonstration also shows. But in both cases (i.e. Assam and Rohingya Muslims) it is not part of any world wide conspiracy to kill Muslims as it is being propagated.

 

In Mumbai violence media came under attack for no reason except that provocative speeches were made against media. It was quite ill-advise. A wise leadership would rather try to win over media rather than antagonize it this way. Also, one cannot tar the media with the same brush. Both print and electronic media has different ideological and commercial approaches. A blatant attack is totally wrong and even if a section of media is ideologically against or indifferent to Muslim problems, solution does not lie in attacking its journalists, or OB vans. It is at best foolish.

 

Urdu papers often write that let Ulama-kiram (Honourable Ulama) guide the Muslim ummah and give it a lead. How can one expect Ulama who hardly have knowledge of the modern world and for whom provoking religious sentiments is part of their orientation, can provide leadership. It is not to say that all Ulama are like this but a large number of Ulama – and this has been proved repeatedly in political matters – behave either in opportunistic or emotional way.

 

And let us remember all this happened in the holy month of Ramadan. The ulama never tire of telling us that this month of fasting so that we become more patient and able to control our anger and we must devote us entirely to ‘ibadat i.e. acts of worship, compassion and charity. What was then hurry to take out this rally in this holy month when no fresh incidents were taking place. The Assam situation had come under control and what was urgently needed was to collect money, clothes, shoes and medicines for those in relief camps in those four districts.

 

In this holy month of charity they could have concentrated on collecting relief for those unfortunate 4 million people who are rotting in relief camps in most unspeakable conditions. Many Bodos also have been killed in retaliatory actions and quite a few Bodos are also living in these relief camps in as bad a condition as Bengali speaking Muslims. As a good and compassionate Muslims, in this month of charity they should adopt inclusive approach and collect relief for Bodos too. This is what the Holy Qur’an also requires of them.

 

If instead of making it a conspiracy against Muslims, if they had condemned killing of Bodos too and prayed for all it would not have acquired such emotional proportions. Also the rally also should not have been exclusively a Muslim rally but a rally with the support of all sections of Indian society i.e. Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and all others – besides Muslims – to strengthen our secular character. It was not only exclusively Muslim but organized by Raza Academy – representing Barelvi Muslims. What a sectarian approach. Deobandis were to organize separately a day after but was postponed because of violent turn which the rally on Saturday took.

 

If we have to be against violence and it should be our serious commitment – we have to be more and more inclusive. When ever sectarian approach is adopted, it becomes easier to resort to violence and if it is inclusive of all sections it is not only more democratic but also likely to be more non-violent. Sectarian approach also results in competitive approach and inclusive approach is also cooperative approach.

 

The police is now saying the violence was pre-planned which may result in harassment of many Muslim youth. It is shameful that some rallyists molested women constables and seized revolvers from them. The police may take revenge for this. Let us hope police does not. But one must say the police had shown lot of restraint and Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik himself had come and spoken from the platform appealing Muslims to show restraint in this holy month of Ramadan.

 

Let us hope wiser counsel will prevail and peace would not be disturbed.    

————————————————-

Centre for Study of Society and Secularism

Mumbai.

E-mail: csss@mtnl.net.in

 

How to start a riot out of Facebook: Yousuf Saeed


Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

AUGUST 13, 2012

Guest post by YOUSUF SAEED, http://kafila.org

I am utterly shocked and pained to read about the violent rally that many Muslims took out at Azad Maidan in Mumbai on 11 August 2012 in protest against the recent communal carnage in Assam and Burma. More than the accidental death of two men and 50 injured in yesterday’s protest, what alarmed me was the public anger targeted on the media for “not reporting about the violence against Muslims in Assam and Myanmar”. Several vans of TV channels and their equipment were smashed or burnt besides a number of police vehicles destroyed. Of course, the authorities are still probing as to who really began the violence in an otherwise peaceful rally (and we are open to the results of such a probe). But my worst fear came true with this assertion of one of the protesters in a newspaper report: “Why is the media not covering Burma and Assam? We learnt about the incidents from videos posted on the Internet.” This seems to be a very disturbing statement on various accounts. Of course, the media can sometimes be biased, and the Muslims do feel victimised by it all the time. But are the random videos and images posted on the Internet any less biased or misleading?

Some of you may have recently noticed a number of gory and blood-soaked images being forwarded and shared on various social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter that claim to show the dead bodies of “20,000 Muslims butchered in Burma in the hands of Buddhists” along with the assertion that the world’s media is silent about the plight of Muslims in Burma and so on. Most of those images are really disturbing, capable of making anyone’s blood boil. Some show mounds of rotting dead bodies and a few Buddhist monks standing near them. Some even looked digitally tempered with to enhance their anti-Muslim violence. But there was no sign of where these images were sourced from. A couple of them even had Jama’t-e Islami, Pakistan, stamped on them. But if, as the people posting them claim, the world’s media is silent about the Muslim carnage in Burma, how did these images and the disturbing news come from Burma in the first place? Where did they find them before posting? I asked this question to many friends sharing these images and they didn’t have a clue. They simply believed in what they saw. In fact, from the Internet these pictures were picked up by many Urdu newspapers from Mumbai, Hyderabad and Delhi and printed with inflammatory titles and headlines. Many new caricatures and info-graphics started appearing on Facebook ridiculing the “peaceful” image of Buddhists or the “silence” of Burmese leader Aung Suu Kyi on the carnage of Rohingya Muslims and so on.

Read more here

Truth behind the Violence- Mumbai Police’s mature handling of Saturday’s protest #mustshare


Citizens for Justice and Peace met the Commissioner of Police Mumbai to express our concern over the fallout of Saturday’s violence. His mature  handling of a potentially explosive situation on Saturday did ensure that matters were brought under control. Most of all his immediate presence at the venue within minutes of the situation spiralling out of control, his direct appeal to the protesters and organisers, his reference to the bloodbath of 1992-1993 worked to calm the crowd and draw apologies from many sections of the Muslim community.

We have also shared details of the misuse of certain photographs from the internet claiming that these are about atrocities on Rohingyas in Burma when in fact they belong to different tragedies and protests. CJP would like to express deep sorrow at the loss of lives on Saturday and also deep regret at the injuries –some serious caused to several police men and women last Saturday.  Enclosed is a copy of the memorandum that contains the manipulated photographs.

CJP would like to state that while photographs about the situation in Burma have been doing the rounds since mid-June 2012, it was a Pakistani blogger who has pointed out the misuse/manipulation of some of the images.CJP would also like to urge that restraint and maturity continues to govern not just the law and order machinery but also the political class. Among the wide use of SMS for Saturday’s agitation, politicians have also been sending out provocative text messages. (we have some of these). Unlike what has been put out, we would also like to state that while the media may not have highlighted the situation of the Rohingyas in Myanmar as much as say they have the Hindu refugees of Pakistan, this needs to be highlighted by enlightened debate. As far as the Assam issue is concerned there have been as always mixed reportage in the media. The Open Magazine calls it on e3 sided provocation against the Muslim settlers. It would also be worth remembering that clearcut efforts to communalise the situation in Assam have been spearheaded by our largest opposition party that speaks of the violence against the Bodos but not against the Muslim settlers who’s citizenship issue has been long settled.

We enclose the memorandum with a request that this is given wide coverage.

Teesta Setalvad
Secretary, CJP

 

August 13, 2012

To

Commissioner of Police

Mumbai

Shri Arup Patnaik

Dear Sir,

As citizens of Mumbai committed to the rule of law and human rights for all, we would like to place on record our appreciation for the manner in which the Mumbai Police under your stewardship handled the potentially explosive situation at Azad Maidan on Saturday. Though better preparedness and bandobast before the protest would have undoubtedly helped, once violence broke out, the mature and handling by the police without being further provoked by the behavior of the protesters ensured that the situation was brought under control, and that a potentially volatile situation did not spread to other areas. Sir it is critical to ensure that there is no further fallout of Saturday’s violence.

We would also like to condemn of the use of provocative slogans and resort to violence by some of those on the stage and in the crowd assembled to protest, as reported in the media. We strongly condemn the attack on policemen and misbehavior with women police officers as has been also alleged alleged in media reports that must have caused deep anger among the law and order enforcement machinery. The attack on the media is most deplorable, as also the destruction of public property. Any issues that any individual or group has with the media, selective portrayals or biases—if any– need to be furthered through discussion and dialogue not violence and instigation.

While the right to protest is a democratic right, the duty and responsibility of peaceful protest must lie with not just the authorities but responsibility must also be taken by organizers. (Justice Srikrishna in his report on the 1q992-1993 violence, had, relying on the earlier recommendations of the Justice DP Madon Commission report that were never implemented, recommended that  deposits need to be obtained from organizers of protests to ensure that damages for any losses could be recovered from this deposit). We suggest that the Mumbai police immediately apply this recommendation.

There have been reports that some provocative photographs of the situation in Burma were shown or talked of and the appeals to the media made. In this connection we would like to offer the following information. Since mid-June 2012, photographs allegedly depicting the horrific plight of the Rohingyas,­ who happen to be Muslims of Burmahave been widely circulated on the internet. (Annexure A)

Yesterday, after Saturday’s violence, as we were checking the authenticity of these out, we found, that some, though not all of them were actually not of authentic and were altered/morphed on the computer. This information has also been put out by a blogger who appears to be from Pakistan.

We attach some of these below for your consideration.

We would also like to humbly state that reviving the vibrant and collective effort of the Mohalla Committee—with ordinary citizens not politicians—is critical given that misconceptions and misgivings must have been caused across communities after Saturday’s incident. This is also necessary to ensure that there is no spill over resentment and anger with other, ordinary Muslims following the conduct of a handful of compatriots of the community on Saturday. The month of Ramzan, followed by Eid after which the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi will be both a strain and challenge to the Mumbai police. We hope that under your leadership, maturity and calm governs public behavior, not retaliation by the police or provocation by any other sections of society.

Yours Sincerely,

Teesta Setalvad                                           Javed Anand

Secretary                                                      Trustee

Other trustees:

IM Kadri (President), Nandan Maluste (Vice President),

Arvind Krishnaswamy (Treasurer), Alyque Padamsee, Cyrus Guzder, Anil Dharker, Javed Akhtar, Ghulam Pesh Imam, Rahul Bose, Cedric Prakash

Annexure A

Social media is lying to you about Burma’s Muslim ‘cleansing’

Faraz Ahmed July 19, 2012

Social networking sites are abuzz with news about Muslims being killed in Burma.You can see the sporadic posting of pictures by different people with captions like ‘Muslims killing in Burma’, ‘Muslims slaughtered by Buddhists in Burma’ and so on.

Thus, I took on the mission to sort the truth out for myself once and for all and researched some pictures that I felt were dubious. Below are a few pictures and their original copies. You can evidently see the gross difference between them and how they are thrown out of context.

This was a picture shared on Facebook.


I have found the original version which reads differently to the the one posted on the social networking site.

This picture was taken in 2010 after an earthquake in China and captures the efforts put in by the Tibetans to help rescue the victims. Now, Islamic political parties and some other elements are sharing this image as Muslim killing and their slaughter in Burma.

Another widely circulated  picture captioned “More then 1,000 people killed in Burma” is also fake.

The original, as you can see below, is taken in Thailand in the year 2004. This picture shows protesters that were tear-gassed outside the Tal Bai police station in Bangkok. This is roughly 1,409.9 km away from Burma! What is grossly negligent about these photos is the factual ignorance of the hate these misleading photos can culminate.

Below, please find another image which was posted online, this time with an imprint of Jamaat-e-Islami on the top left . It reads ‘Terrorists of Budhism of Burma kills 500 Muslims’.

As you can guess, this is also a fabricated picture.

In reality, this image belongs to a Human Rights violation incident by the Thai authorities against the Rohingya ethnic minority of Burma. These refugees were detained for a few weeks and then sent off drifting into the sea.

Here is another instance of such fallacy spreading across the social media sites regarding the massacre of Muslims in Burma.

This picture is extremely misleading considering that the original image was about the riots in Thailand that took place in 2003! Now, take a look at the image below and observe how it is blown out of context.

Now, view the original.

The original picture is not even remotely close to what the picture above states. In fact, a Tibetan protester had set himself on fire in protest prior to the arrival of Chinese president Hu Jintao and that too in Delhi.

I do not deny the killings of Muslims in Burma – not even for a minute.

 

I think it is horrific and I am sympathetic towards the immense loss being suffered by my Muslim brothers and sisters abroad.What I am against is being lied to.

Imagine the amount of lies we are being fed through these pictures. How can one trust any image online if such drastic manipulation and editing is being done to cater to someone’s political or personal agenda?’

Social media and networking sites, if used properly, can be an impressive tool in spreading awareness amongst its users, but it can be an equally dangerous median as well if misused.

These images are false and are only igniting hatred and prejudice in our youth.

We need to become more vigilant and aware of the credibility and authenticity of  pictures we browse through. It only takes one wrong image to push us over the edge towards extremism.

Who do you think is more misleading?

Myanmar lifts BAN on journals after protests #CENSORSHIP #GOODNEWS


Journalists pose with a shirt during a protest along the streets of Yangon, August 4, 2012. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

YANGON | Mon Aug 6, 2012 6:51pm IST

(Reuters) – Myanmar‘s government has agreed to lift suspensions on two weekly journals within two weeks, their editors said on Monday, just days after rare protests by journalists in two cities to demand more press freedom.

Editors of the Burmese-language Voice Weekly and The Envoy told Reuters that Myanmar’s censorship board had informed them they could resume publishing by August 18, without giving a reason for why the suspensions would be lifted.

Publication of the journals was halted indefinitely late last month, promoting an outcry among journalists who are enjoying freedom to publish not seen under the five decades of authoritarian military rule that ended in March last year.

The quasi-civilian government has loosened its grip on the press as part of a surprise reform drive. But some press censorship still remains and journalists pushing the boundaries of the restrictions have complained that suspensions are tantamount to intimidation.

Nearly 100 journalists rallied against the suspension in Yangon on Saturday and about 60 protested in the second-biggest city, Mandalay a day later, most wearing black T shirts saying “stop killing the press”.

“The reason for lifting the suspension, I think, would be because of the rallies by the journalists,” said an editor of another journal, who asked not to be named.

Monday’s edition of the Messenger journal blacked-out its entire front page and cited a line from the constitution that guarantees freedom of expression.

The Nation journal went a step further, uploading on its Facebook page what it said was a censored copy of its front page story of the protest, which was covered with crosses in red ink.

It was not known exactly why the two publications were suspended. The Press Scrutiny and Registration Division, as the censors are called, said they had “violated rules and regulations”, without elaborating.

The Voice is also facing a lawsuit, lodged by Myanmar’s Ministry of Mines, after it published a report alleging graft by ministries under the previous government.

Myanmar’s government has insisted it will scrap censorship as soon as a press law is promulgated, but journalists are concerned some restrictions will remain and recommendations for the legislation might be ignored.

The government’s mouthpiece, the New Light of Myanmar, carried an editorial in its Sunday edition, apparently in response to the protests, calling for patience and reiterating that censorship would soon be abolished.

It said the country was “not still accustomed to the freedom we have not enjoyed before” and to “rush could ruin results.”

(Reporting by Thu Rein Hlaing; Editing by Martin Petty and Ed Lane; Editing by Ed Lane)

 

Myanmar censors publication of magazines #Censorship


 

Icon for censorship

Icon for censorship (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar’s censors have suspended two weekly magazines indefinitely in the latest confrontation between the government and the newly aggressive press.

The Press Scrutiny Board informed Voice Weekly and Envoy editors Tuesday that their publications have been suspended for violating regulations. The authorities did not explain the reasons for the bans.

Reporters at the publications said privately they suspected they were linked to articles speculating about the details of an anticipated Cabinet reshuffle.

President Thein Sein eased censorship as one of his reforms after decades of repressive military rule. The flourishing of press freedom has brought serious investigative reporting and sensationalism, both of which make the government uncomfortable.

Voice Weekly also faces a defamation suit over a story alleging irregularities in several government ministries’ accounts.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

Rohingya Muslims: A brief history of centuries-long persecution


 

By Syed Zubair Ahmad, Two circles. net

The recent ethnic clashes between the Rohingya Muslims and the Buddhist community in the Rakhine (or Arakan) province of Myanmar have attracted global attention though late – the latest is the UN’s decision to probe into the killings and human rights violation there. An ugly incident of rape and murder of a Buddhist woman allegedly by three Rohingya Muslims in the end of May this year turned into a disaster for Rohingya Muslim community in Myanmar.

There are more than 800,000 Rohingyas residing in Burma, mostly in the province of Rakhine. According to several UN reports, Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. The military Junta striped Rohingyas off all the rights of a citizen through a law called Citizenship Law in 1982, thus making Rohingyas the only stateless community of the world.

Who are Rohingyas?
The history of Rohingya community in Burma goes back to 8th century as they claim to be original settlers of Rakhine (Arakan) province the country while tracing their ancestry to Arab traders. Bengali Muslims from neighboring Bengal (which then included Bangladesh also) started arriving in Rakhine after King Narameikhla (1430–1434) retained his throne with the help of Sultan of Bengal of that time. Besides, a large number of Bengalis migrated to Rakhine during the British rule which encouraged Bengali inhabitants to migrate to fertile valleys of Arakan as agriculturalists.

Rohingyas practice Sunni Islam. Because the government restricts educational opportunities for them, many pursue only basic Islamic studies.


A group of Rohingya Muslims fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar – photo:Reuters

The British census of 1891 reported 58,255 Muslims in Arakan. By 1911, the Muslim population had increased to 178,647. However as of 2012, there are more than 800,000 Rohingyas residing in Myanmar, most of them in the province of Rakhine.

A brief history of persecution of Rohingyas
This is not the first time that Rohingya Muslims were persecuted in Myanmar. In their history, such mass killings and exodus have happened several times.

The annexation of the independent province of Rakhine in 1784 by the Burmese government came up with discriminatory policies and persecution of Rohingyas. They were marginalized and the Myanmar government put several restrictions on their movement, their marriage, and constantly confiscated their land and drove them to annihilation. It is said as many as 35,000 Arakanese people fled to the neighbouring Chittagong region of British Bengal in 1799 to avoid Burmese persecution and seek protection from British India. The Burmese rulers executed thousands of Arakanese men and deported a considerable portion of the Arakanese population to central Burma, leaving Arakan as a scarcely populated area by the time the British occupied it

During World War II, Japanese forces invaded Burma, then under British colonial rule. The British forces retreated and in the power vacuum left behind, considerable violence erupted. This included communal violence between Buddhist Rakhine people and Muslim Rohingya villagers. The period also witnessed violence between groups loyal to the British and Burmese nationalists. The Rohingyas supported the Allies during the war and opposed the Japanese forces. The Japanese committed atrocities toward thousands of Rohingyas, including rape, torture, and murder. In this period, some 22,000 Rohingya are believed to have crossed the border into Bengal, then part of British India, to escape the violence. Some 40,000 Rohingya eventually fled to Chittagong after repeated massacres by the Burmese and Japanese forces.

In 1947, Rohingyas formed Mujahid Party which supported jihad movement in northern Arakan. The aim of Mujahid Party was to create a Muslim Autonomous state in Arakan. But after the 1962 coup d’etat by General Ne Win, military operations targeted them over a period of two decades. The prominent one was “Operation King Dragon” which took place in 1978; as a result, many Muslims in the region fled to neighboring country Bangladesh as refugees. Over 200,000 Rohingyas are said to have fled to Bangladesh following the ‘King Dragon’ operation of the Myanmar army. Officially this campaign aimed at “scrutinizing each individual living in the state, designating citizens and foreigners in accordance with the law and taking actions against foreigners who have filtered into the country illegally.” This military campaign, in effect, directly targeted civilians, and resulted in widespread killings, rape and destruction of mosques and further religious persecution.

During 1991-92 a new wave of atrocities forced over a quarter of a million Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh. They reported widespread forced labor, as well as summary executions, torture, and rape. They said they were forced to work without pay by the Burmese army on infrastructure and economic projects, often under harsh conditions. Many other human rights violations occurred in the context of forced labor of Rohingya civilians by the security forces.

The present alarming situation
In its latest report issued on July 19, 2012 the rights group Amnesty International has slammed the increasing human rights abuses and arbitrary detention of Muslims in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state.

“It is the duty of security forces to defend the rights of everyone – without exception or discrimination – from abuses by others, while abiding by human rights standards themselves,” said Benjamin Zawacki, Amnesty International’s Myanmar Researcher.


A group of Rohingya Muslim asylum seekers in Delhi in May 2012

The group accused both security forces and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists of increasing attacks on the Rohingya Muslims, killing, rape, arbitrary detention of Muslims and destroying their properties, urging the Myanmarese authorities to put an end to the violent action.

“Amnesty International has also received credible reports of other human rights abuses against Rohingyas and other Rakhine Muslims– including physical abuse, rape, destruction of property, and unlawful killings – carried out by both Rakhine Buddhists and security forces,” said the group in its report.

After the recent wave of ethnic cleansing (May-July 2012), according to the Amnesty report, between 50,000 and 90,000 people – with lower figures coming from the government and higher ones from UN agencies– are estimated to have been displaced.

Amnesty International has called on Myanmar’s Parliament to amend or repeal the 1982 Citizenship Law to ensure that Rohingyas are no longer stateless.

“Under international human rights law and standards, no one may be left or rendered stateless. For too long Myanmar’s human rights record has been marred by the continued denial of citizenship for Rohingyas and a host of discriminatory practices against them,” concluded the report.

Decades of discrimination have left the Rohingya Muslims stateless, with Myanmar implementing restrictions on their movement and withholding land rights, education and public services, according to another report released by Turkish charity group the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH).

The report, released on 21st July 2012, states that Rohingya Muslims, who are seen as foreigners by nationalist Myanmar leaders and extremist Buddhists and are denied citizenship by the government because it considers them illegal settlers from neighboring Bangladesh, do not have the freedom to travel. In order to travel from one village to another, they have to pay taxes to the government.

The report underlines that there is a great number of Rohingya Muslims who are detained, subjected to torture and raped, adding that it was difficult to accurately determine their identities or numbers.


Rohingya Muslim asylum seekers who were given a shelter by Zakat Foundation of India with makeshift huts in Kanchan Kunj locality near Sarita Vihar in Delhi

According to this report, Rohingya Muslims are not allowed to renovate their mosques or schools without the permission of the government, adding that anyone caught renovating these buildings without permission would be sent to jail. The report also adds that a new mosque or school has not been built in over 20 years.

They cannot benefit from the social services provided by the state, including health services, underlines the report, adding that Muslims do not have the right to work in government offices.

According to the report, a Muslim who commits an illegal act is not allowed to defend himself and is sent directly to jail. The report also underlines that Muslims can be forced to work for Buddhists or the government without any payment.

A human catastrophe is happening in Burma which needs immediate attention of the world community. The world community should intervene into this inhuman genocide that has been happening in Burma for a long time.
(Syed Zubair Ahmad is a Writer & Journalist. He can be reached at smzubairahmad@gmail.com)

 

Statement by Pakistani civil society on Human Rights violation in Myanmar


Myanmar

Myanmar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Recent weeks have witnessed horrific events in Myanmar. Mobs have targeted the Rohingya population, resulting in the brutal murder of scores of Rohingya and displacement of tens of thousands of children, women, and men. Appallingly, the Myanmar military leadership has labelled Rohingyas as an ethnic and religious minority not deserving of full protection as citizens. Neighbouring Bangladesh behaves most callously, forcing thousands to live in hiding or squalid refugee settlements along the border.

This situation is intolerable for all those committed to universal human rights, including secure lives and prosperous livelihoods.

We demand of the people and government of Myanmar to abide by the international consensus on the rights of people. Having suffered under oppressive, military rule for decades, the people of Myanmar well know of the terror afflicted by the absence of democracy. Only through full and sincere protection of all residents as equal citizens would Myanmar commit adherence to desperately sought democracy.

We urge the winner of a Noble Peace Prize, the venerated Aung San Suu Ski to assume leadership of moves towards an end of violence, and to create conditions for a safe return of refugees to their homes in Myanmar. Her voice is heard around the world, and hence compels her to take bold steps immediately, which must include indiscriminating state and social protection of the Rohingya community.

We urge the Buddhist community around the world to remind the people of Myanmar of the priority given to peace and respect of all nature in the exemplary teachings of Buddha.

We demand of Pakistan as well as other SAARC and ASEAN governments to forcefully remind the government of Myanmar that the inhuman violence sharply retards the progress towards democracy for its people and is therefore unacceptable for full inclusion in regional cooperation.

We demand of the people and government of Bangladesh to provide full refugee status to those compelled to flee Myanmar. Security of adequate food and humane shelter must be the first priority in sincere protection of refugees. SAARC and ASEAN countries must consider their obligation to assist Bangladesh in supporting refugees.

Endorsed by:
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
Pakistan Peace Coalition
Karamat Ali, Executive Director, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER)
B. M. Kutty
Aly Ercelan
Adam Malik
Qamrul Hasan
Lala Hasan Pathan
Iqbal Alv;
Mahnaz Rahman (Aurat Foundation and Women Action Forum)
Latif Mughal
Ziaur Rahman (journalist)
Syed Moazzam Ali
Muneer Memon
Jawaid Ashraf Hussain, former Chief Secretary of Sindh;
Shaheen Salahuddin (TV anchorperson, Indus TV)
Qazi Javed

Released by:
Shujauddin Qureshi
Senior Research Associate
Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER)
Gulshan-e-Maymar, Karachi-75340
Ph: +(92-21) 36351145-7
Fax: +(92-21) 36350345
Cell: +(92)300-3929788
URL: www.piler.org.pk

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