Muslims face on-going violence in Myanmar simply because of their religion and ethnicity in Buddhist majority Myanmar. Here is a report on the latest case of justice denied to them.
YANGON, Myanmar: Police have closed an investigation into an attack on a Muslim man, a mosque, and other religious buildings in south Myanmar, after the victim refused to press charges.
Human rights organizations had urged a thorough investigation after Abdul Sharif was injured following an argument turned violent over the building of a school in Tha Yel Tha Mein village in Waw Township in Bago region -- around 150 kilometers (93 miles) northwest of commercial capital Yangon.
The incident had rekindled fears of a return to the violence of 2012, when communal tensions between Buddhists and Muslims in western Rakhine State left 200 people dead and displaced thousands.
On Thursday, Waw Township Police Chief Ohn Lwin told Anadolu Agency by phone that there would be no arrests in the case. Muslim residents have expressed fears of what might happen if the case was pursued.
“As the victims decided not to file a complaint or lawsuit against the mob, we are not going to arrest anyone,” Ohn Lwin said.
Abdul Sharif’s father, Myo Swe, told Anadolu Agency that he approved of his son's decision not to file charges against the attackers.
“I told him we would not be able to stay here and will have to leave for another village if you file,” he said by phone.
The June 23 violence saw the mob partially destroy a mosque, another school, a Muslim dwelling and a building under construction, which villagers had accused of being an illegal religious school.
On June 24, Amnesty International called on the government to investigate the violence and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“This incident must be immediately and independently investigated and those suspected of involvement must be brought to justice and victims receive effective remedies including reparations,” said the organization's director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Rafendi Djamin.
“Failure to investigate and hold those suspected to be responsible to account would send a worrying message that attacks against religious minorities could continue to go unpunished."
Though more than 100 police have been deployed since Saturday to guard the village, some Muslim villagers, most of them women and children, fled in fear after the attacks, and are still afraid to return to their homes.
Khin Oo -- a member of the mosque's caretaker committee -- told Anadolu Agency that only about 30 villagers, mostly young men, remained to guard property and belongings.
“They [those who fled] will not return until they feel safe.”