At least 202 protestors have been killed by the Myanmar military since the ousting of the Aung San Suu Kyi-led government through a coup d'état on February 1, 2020, advocacy group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said on Tuesday.
According to the group, last Sunday marked the bloodiest day since the coup, with at least 74 protestors being reportedly killed by the ongoing military crackdown after several Chinese-funded factories were allegedly torched by protestors. Another 20 protestors reportedly died on Monday, as protests continued.
As per state broadcaster MRTV, martial law has been imposed in parts of Yangon, with military commanders taking over administration of districts, including the courts.
Mass Funerals For Slain Protestors
Tuesday saw gatherings of hundreds at funeral homes and crematoriums, as mass funerals were held for the slain protestors. A crematorium in Yangong reported 31 funerals taking place on Tuesday itself.
The funeral for 19-year-old medical student Khant Nyar Hein had drawn a massive crowd of sympathisers to bid farewell to the slain protestor. In a video clip posted of Hein's funeral, the student's mother could be heard saying, "Let them kill me right now, let them kill me instead of my son because I can't take it any more," while the mourners chanted, "Our revolution must prevail!"
A Yangon-based reporter, who spoke to BOOM on condition of anonymity, said that more than 50 more protestors were killed according to a recorded list.
"Now some areas of Yangon are under martial law. Yesterday (March 16), according to the recorded list more than 50 people in Glaing Thar Yar township were killed by military. We have no internet access, only WiFi are available right now," the reporter said.
The economy in Myanmar has been brought to a screeching halt, with increasing number of strikes by workers, and foreign investors being asked to shun the military junta by the ousted regime.
Railway and bank employees, medical staff and civil servants have joined in support against the coup and the actions by the military, disrupting transportation, businesses, bank operations and the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country.
While briefing the media in Geneva, UN human rights spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said that at least 37 journalists have been arrested by the junta, of which 19 currently remain in detention, while 5 have reportedly died in custody.
Members of the Myanmar military and security forces are reportedly using TikTok to intimidate protestors. Military staff and personnels started posting videos threatening protestors with physical harm if they did not step back.
The junta took over the reigns after accusing Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy of fraud during the elections held last year on November 8. The electoral commission had promised to hold fresh polls, but a date has not been provided yet.
"Sending them back to Myanmar will mean killing them"
Meanwhile, a village leader in Mizoram told The Hindu on Sunday that more than 100 refugees from the country have entered the North-East Indian state recently to escape the wrath of the junta. According to him, a total of 116 people crossed the Tiau River and reached the Farkawn village through an area where the Assam Rifles were not present.
Following this, the ministry of home affairs (NE Division) wrote to the chief secretaries of North-Eastern states bordering Myanmar stating that an illegal influx has started, and advised to not grant refugee status to those fleeing the neighbouring country.
Responding to the Centre's actions, Rajya Sabha member K. Vanlalvena from the Mizo National Front told The Hindu that the MHA was indulging in doublespeak - it allegedly told the state's CM that no one will be deported, while sending letter to other North-Eastern states to instruct the identification and deportation of these refugees.
"They are our brothers; sending them back to Myanmar will mean killing them," Vanlalvena said during the zero hour in Rajya Sabha.
While responding to a question by Saugata Ray in the Lok Sabha, the MHA said that India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol. It reiterated that states and UTs have no power to grant "refugee" status to any foreigner in India.
While instability and unrest grows in the neighbouring country, India has currently started the process of deporting over 150 Rohingya refugees to Myanmar, who are currently being held in detention centres.
The Myanmar military took power after a coup in 1962, ousting the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League which was formed during the Japanese occupation of the country. It expanded its powers over the next few decades, under a hybrid government between the military and the Burma Socialist Programme Party.
Between 1988 and 2011, the military held complete power in the country, after which it was transferred to the Union Solidarity and Development Party.
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