On This Day

The Day Deadly Prison Riot in Rangoon Jail Erupted

By Wei Yan Aung 24 June 2020

Yangon — On this day in 1930, 34 inmates were killed and over 60 injured in a prison riot in Yangon (then Rangoon). As 400 prisoners rose against the rule of the Indian warden at Rangoon Central Jail at around 3 pm on June 24, 1930, the authorities began indiscriminately shooting inmates.

The violent crackdown came as another shock to the city which had recently experienced an earthquake and anti-Indian riots.

District magistrate Maurice Collis had to cancel an evening round of golf due to the riot. He wrote in his books ‘Trials in Burma’ and ‘Into Hidden Burma’ that it was the biggest recorded prison riot in the country. He said the inmates planned to kill the warden and escape. Two prison officers were killed and eight others injured.

The notorious Rangoon Central Jail was on the site that now houses the Yangon University of Nursing at the corner of Bonegyi Street and Pyay Road. It held well-known political prisoners and hundreds of Allied personnel during World War II. It was later demolished by the Burma Socialist Programme Party led by military dictator General Ne Win.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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