Students Demand Accountability in Electrocution Cases

By Thazin Hlaing 15 August 2018

YANGON — Students from 13 universities in Yangon Region have sent a petition to the Ministry of Electricity and Energy asking for government accountability regarding recent electrocution cases.

The petition signed by 4,500 students during the “No Electric Shock Signature Campaign” was also presented to the electricity, industry and transportation minister and social affairs minister of the Yangon regional government and regional Parliament.

Students of the University of Medicine-2 held a press conference on Tuesday at the office of the Myanmar Journalists Network, demanding that justice be served for two students who died from electrocution.

Protesters asked that the government reply in 15 days. “We’ve asked the ministries what they can do about the lack of safety in public areas,” said Ko Aung Kaung Maw, a student of the University of Medicine-2, who is also a leader of the signature campaign.

On July 13, a 13-year-old boy died by electrocution after stepping on a fallen wire lying in a pool of water on Thanthumar Road in Yangon’s South Okkalapa Township. Two weeks later, a student of the University of Medicine-2 met the same fate after he leaned against a wall into which electric current from a neighboring workshop owned by the Ministry of Industry was flowing.

In regard to the death of the boy in South Okkalapa Township, the chief executive officer of the Yangon Electricity Supply Corporation U Thant Sain told The Irrawaddy, “The investigation has been completed and the report has been submitted to the [Electricity and Energy] Ministry.

“Especially, 400-volt power cables tend to fall down. The rest rarely do. So, we are replacing 400-volt cables in crowded public spaces such as hospitals, schools and markets,” he added.

Students from the University of Medicine-2 are still haunted by the tragic death of their friend, said student Ko Aung Khant Paing.

“We are extremely worried that an overhead power line may fall at any time, especially when it rains and we can’t see clearly on the flooded streets,” he said.

Students from the University of Computer Science, University of Foreign Languages, Yangon University, Dagon University and more also signed the petition in addition to students from the medical and nursing universities.

The petition called on the Electricity Ministry to investigate the deaths, provide justice for the two victims, ensure responsibility and accountability, prevent similar incidents in the future, and make regular checks on power lines.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.