Myanmar Regime Forces Kill Gurkha Couple in the Border Town of Tamu
By The Irrawaddy 13 April 2021
A husband and wife were shot dead by forces of Myanmar’s military regime Tuesday in Tamu, a town in Myanmar’s northwest along the border with India.
The area has been under the control of soldiers and police since Saturday after a violent crackdown on anti-regime protesters there.
Kishan Gotamay (Goutam), in his late 40s, and his wife Harimaya Gotamay, in her late 30s, were on their motorbike and on their way back from collecting cow’s milk when they were shot at Pahe Bridge in Tamu, according to local residents. Both are Gurkha.
Their family was contacted by police before noon and funerals were conducted within hours, said a relative, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“We were looking for them as they were late coming home in the morning. They went to pick up the cow-milk from their farm to sell in the wards,” she said.
The relative said that normally the couple returned home within 30 minutes to an hour. But when they did not arrive on time on Tuesday morning, family members searched for them.
“But we could not go very far away outside given the current situation. We only learned about their deaths when the police contacted us at around 11:30 a.m.,” said the relative.
The relative said the husband was shot in his cheek and the wife was shot in the back.
Their bodies were taken back home and funerals were held quickly on Tuesday afternoon before 5 p.m.
“At least, the family got the chance to see their bodies before the funeral,” said the relative.
Junta forces raided Tamu town Saturday and destroyed the fortified barricades set up by anti-regime protesters. The residents have been unable to hold protests for three days. Residents said the soldiers have taken control of the town, patrolling the streets and searching everyone they encounter.
A resident told The Irrawaddy that he saw about 50 soldiers patrolling the ward where the shooting occurred. They were destroying roadblocks as well as checking people and firing their guns on Tuesday.
“When we heard the shooting, we also ran and hid in nearby forests and only came back home in the afternoon,” said Ko Kyaw (not his real name) who lives near the bridge.
“We are scared and feel unsafe. We also worry for our family’s safety,” he said, adding that the junta forces had been destroying other wards for the past three days and turned into his ward today.
On Monday, a seven-year-old girl was hit and about 200 residents fled from their homes when regime forces raided the town and randomly fired their weapons.
As of Monday, there were 710 civilian deaths, documented by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). The number of civilians killed by regime forces since the Feb. 1 coup was at least 713 by Tuesday morning.
Some of those fleeing their homes in Tamu are taking shelter in India’s Manipur state, as Tamu is the border town with Manipur state’s Moreh town, another resident told The Irrawaddy.
The town has been defending itself with improvised arms and explosives against the military regime forces for more than two weeks following the death of a peaceful protester on March 26.
The junta forces have arrested at least three people, Ko Hlaing Moe, Ko Aung Than and Ko Aye Chan, according to residents.
A member of the resistance force in Tamu said police arrested five youths who are not part of their movement.
“They [security forces] covered the heads of five youths with cloths and tied their hands behind the back. They were beaten and taken. We don’t know where they were taken,” said the Tamu resident.
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