Three Kachin student leaders sent to forced labour camp
|News – Kachin News Group|
|Tuesday, 16 December 2008|
| The Burmese military junta sentenced three ethnic Kachin student leaders to one year in a forced labour camp which doubles as a prison on charges of being involved in a ‘racial movement’ in Mon Ywa University in Sagaing Division in northern Burma in September, said Kachin student sources.
Tu Nan, final year Economics student and Secretary of the School for Kachin Culture and Literature was also included among those sentenced. They were sent to the forced labour camp in Khanti in the division in September, said a Kachin student leader in Myitkyina University in Kachin state.
The Kachin student leaders have been sentenced for their involvement in murdering a Burman Economics student in the school in September. However they were charged for ‘racial movement’ instead of being slapped with a ‘murder charge’, said Kachin students in Mon Ywa University.
In early September, a Burman student, the son of retired Burmese Army Major was beaten to death in the school hostel by over 20 male Kachin students including the three Kachin student leaders because they felt racially discriminated against by Burman students being in the school’s majority, according to a local source close to student leaders.
The three student leaders were arrested and promptly sentenced to one year in prison in Khanti forced labour camp soon after the murder was reported to a Kachin headed the ruling junta’s Military Affairs Security Unit (Sa Ya Pha) or the military intelligence squad in Mandalay Division and commander Maj-Gen Soe Win of Northern Military Command headquarters (Ma Pa Kha) based in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin state, added Kachin students in the school.
According to sources close to Kachin students in Mon Ywa University, the school has over 300 Kachin Economics students but the discrimination is unlimited against Kachin students who are looked down upon by Burman students. Kachin schoolgirls are also treated as casual sex partners by Burman males.
Mung Ywa school sources said the junta tried to put the lid on this incident apprehensive that it would snowball into a students’ demonstration against the junta.