Mob burns down Muslim prayer hall in Hpakant
A MOB of about 500 people burned down a temporary Muslim prayer hall in Kachin State’s Hpakant township on the evening of July 1, police said.
The attack in Lone Khin village was the second in the country in as many weeks. On June 23 a Buddhist mob destroyed a mosque in Bago Region, with the chief minister there saying he will not take action against the perpetrators.
Kachin State police said the Lone Khin prayer hall was built without permission. Police Colonel Tun Oo said Buddhists burned it down, though a security force prevented any further destruction.
“We will take stern action against the people who were involved,” he said. “We have started the investigation.”
The structure was initially built as a home but was later used for devotion by local Muslims, state police said, and local Buddhists had complained to the township administration, calling for its demolition.
U Laung Khan, chair of the Lone Khin village National League for Democracy chapter, said the township administration department urged the villagers to act in accordance with the law but some did not listen.
“All Muslim people in the village have fled to other villages,” he said. “I know that they are afraid of Buddhist people. The Buddhist people shouted ‘Victory! Victory!’ loudly after the fire. Most of them are not Lone Khin villagers. They are migrant workers who are working with rough stones.”
The Myanmar Police Force released a statement on July 1 saying that about 500 Buddhists were involved in the incident. Police will investigate what incited the mob, the statement said, but no arrests have been made yet.
A Lone Khin resident who saw the incident said locals were not involved. They were Bamar and Rakhine ethnic people from elsewhere, he claimed, adding that locals had no interest in getting involved in such activities.
“We don’t like things like this. This was a religious building, although it was not officially a mosque,” he said. “We should respect the Muslim people.”