With Death of Father in Lashio, Son Looks ahead to Uncertain Future

By Lawi Weng 3 June 2013

After his father was killed by rioters in Lashio, Bee Ya Nyein Pyit Naing came to stay at the Buddhist monastery that had been opened up to those displaced by the anti-Muslim violence in the Shan State town.

It was there that Bee Ya, who is 18 years old, told The Irrawaddy his story; of how his parents tried to flee the violence last week, but were thwarted when their car came upon one of the angry mobs.

“There were about 30 people,” Bee Ya said. “They blocked the car on the road. Then, they smashed the glass windows of the car while my parents were inside. My father was killed in the car while my mother escaped.”

It was 1 pm on Wednesday, one day after a mosque, an Islamic orphanage and several shops in Lashio were burned to the ground.

“I was very close to my father when they blocked his car. I was driving my motorbike behind my father’s car. Many of them [the rioters] attempted to slash me with their knives and I tried to avoid them and escaped from the incident. I could not do anything to help my father,” he said.

Bee Ya is the youngest in a family that includes one older brother and two older sisters. He said his family ran a business selling cars and lived in Quarter Seven, which saw the worst of the violence. While their house remained untouched when they fled to the monastery, he said it was not clear if it would still be standing when the family returned.

“I did not know what had happened to my parents until the evening as I was afraid and hid. I came back to the place where my father was attacked to look at the situation. I found cloth from my father at the place.

“I asked some people near the neighborhood about my parents and they told me my father was killed on the spot and my mother was being treated at the hospital,” he added.

He said it was only when he attended his funeral that he learned his father had been beaten to death.

“I visited my mom at the hospital with help from the Red Cross this morning [Friday],” Bee Ya said. Red Cross members hid him in a car and transported him to the hospital to see his mother.

Bee Ya described the relief he felt when he arrived at the hospital to find his mother with only minor wounds: a black eye, and some scrapes and bruises on her chin and head.

“My mind has a little calm now after I visited my mother, but I am sad for my father,” he said.

“It is very sad to be without my father. I do not know and worry a lot about what will happen to my family without my father. All our family used to stay together and used to be a happy family. I have become a son without a father now.”