Panic Strikes in Pakokku Town Following Rumors of Sectarian Violence

Last week, parents gathered outside a school in Mandalay to pull their children from classes following rumors of an outbreak of sectarian violence. (Photo: Manthalay / The Irrawaddy)

Last week, parents gathered outside a school in Mandalay to pull their children from classes following rumors of an outbreak of sectarian violence. (Photo: Manthalay / The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — Dozens of panicked families in Pakokku, Magwe Division, began pulling their children from school on Thursday afternoon after rumors spread through the town that inter-communal violence had broken out.

The panic was sparked by reports that a local primary school in the central Burmese town was being burned down by a group of Muslims. A Pakokku Township police officer told The Irrawaddy however, that there was no fire at the school.

A fire engine had been sent to the primary school, located in the town’s Quarter No.3, and police had been deployed, said the officer, who declined to be named as he was not authorized to speak with the media.

“Currently, we posted policemen at every school and public area, such as markets, to guard the town and prevent violence,” he said.

The rumor was reportedly spread by a group of unknown men on four motorbikes, who sped through the town shouting that Muslim residents were burning down the school.

“We are locating them and investigating who they are,” the officer said. “If we catch the people who are spreading such rumors and trying to start violence, we will severely punish them.”

Despite these police actions, dozens of panicked parents raced to the primary school in Quarter No. 3 to pull their children from classes.

“The police are explaining to the parents that they should not worry as they control the area. They are assuring them that they will not allow any incident to happen,” one of the parents said by phone. “The teachers did not allow the students to go until school time is over.”

The parent, who preferred not be named, said many worried residents were also shutting down businesses in the town, which is located about 30 km north of Bagan.

“At the central market some shops owned by Muslims were closed immediately after the rumors spread, out of fear that violence might occur like it has in other towns,” he said.

“The situation in the afternoon is quite stable,” the man said, “But we still are worried that something might happen.”

During a similar incident last week, dozens of parents in Mandalay began pulling their children from school after a group of motorcyclist drove around the city shouting that Muslims were attacking a local school.

The panic in Pakkoku is another indication of the anxiety among communities in Burma, following several deadly outbreaks of violence between Buddhists and Muslims residents in towns across the country this year.


5 Responses to Panic Strikes in Pakokku Town Following Rumors of Sectarian Violence

  1. We all know who is creating this violence. Its China and Chinese embassy in Yangon and Mandalay fueling these religious tension in Myanmar.
    My fellow Burmese people, Wake Up.. Muslims are not your enemy.. Mainland greedy Chinese are our real enemy.

    • Shame on you for harboring evil mind, creating lies – Repent or no Muslim God or Buddha will forgive you.

    • If you check out the Facebook page of the Chinese Embassy in Burma you can see lots of pictures of Buddhist monks. I wonder why? In China the Communist Party doesn’t like the Falun Gong and everyone knows how Tibetan Buddhists feel about the Han Chinese.

  2. Deer frightens by its own fart. In Pakkoku, their own ghosts are haunting them. Burmese are majority group in Burma with low mentality. Instead of leading us parent-figured heart, they create small problem into a big deal.

  3. No one is stupid enough to believe you’re fabricated rumor and will be doing what you want to happen between Burmese and Chinese. No idiot in here mate.
    I have no doubt some Muslim extremists are wanted to create another ethnic riot between Burmese and Chinese.
    We Buddhist never said Muslims in Burma are enemy. The problems between Buddhist Burmese ethnics and Muslims were created by stupid idiot Muslim men like you.
    My answer to you is you’re Karma will pay you back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available. Comments with external links in the body text will be deleted by moderators.