Sunday, August 17, 2008

University student killed by police in upper Burma

Mizzima News
Saturday, 16 August 2008 19:32

New Delhi — Authorities have heightened security in Monywa University in Sagaing Division of upper Burma, after a university student was killed in a fight on Thursday night.

Eyewitnesses said, at least seven police vans are seen parked in the University campus in Monywa City, after a student named Aung Kyaw Soe Win was killed during a fight near the university campus on Thursday night.

In an interview with a person, who claimed to have witness the fight on Thursday, said Aung Kyaw Soe Win, a second year Bachelor of Arts student in Monywa University, was killed while four of his friends were arrested after they were attacked by local policemen following an argument near the university campus on Thursday evening.

The five students were returning to the University after singing in front of a girl's hostel when they were stopped by about 10 policemen, who asked them to come with them to the police station, the eyewitness said.

"The police told the students that since they had been singing political songs, they must come to the police station. The police threatened them that they will be beaten up if they do not go to the police station," the eyewitness told Mizzima.

"But the students refused to go and said 'we will not follow you, do what you want with us.' Then the policemen charged at the students," said the eyewitness, who requested not to be named for fear of reprisal.

Reportedly, Aung Kyaw Soe Win (19), and his friend Tun Min were beaten up severely and were pushed into a police van, where Aung Kyaw Soe Win died even before he could be admitted to hospital.

Though the other three students fled, they were later arrested by the police and are currently in custody with Tun Min at the police station, he added.

But on the contrary, a Buddhist monk, who resides near the university campus and claimed to have heard of the incident said, the fight was not between the students and policemen but was between student rivals.

The No (2) Monywa Police station, when contacted by Mizzima, said they have a case of brawl between students filed in the office but decline to further elaborate on the case.

A classmate of Aung Kyaw Soe Win in Monywa University, when contacted by Mizzima, said while he was not aware of Aung Kyaw Soe Win's death, "he has not come for class and I called out absent on his behalf."

He said police have filled up the university campus and have tightened security, though he is not aware of the police's apprehensions.

Aung Kyaw Soe Win's friend, who claimed to have seen his death body, however, said, "He was badly injured on his head and his skull was smashed. Their families covered his face with a handkerchief."

Aung Kyaw Soe Win and his friends on Thursday had sung political songs in front of a girl's hostel, his friend told Mizzima in an email interview.

Though he was not in the group with Aung Kyaw Soe Win, he said, he heard them sing the Burmese 'National Anthem' and other political songs that are dedicated to Burma's Independence Hero - General Aung San.

In Burma, youngsters love to sing on the roadside at night, and University campuses are frequently filled with groups of young students roaming, with guitars and other light musical equipments, and singing at door-step of girl's hostels.

In a country, with little space for legal entertainment for young people, the practice of singing in front of girl's hostels or on roadsides has not been considered illegal or criminal.

Meanwhile, Aung Kyaw Soe Win's friend said, the police have reportedly told his elder brother that he was under the influence of alcohol and died in a fight between students and warned him not to spread about the case.

Augn Kyaw Soe Win's friend said his body will be buried on Sunday.

Aung Kyaw Soe Win, who had come from 'Minn Tine Pinn' village in west of Monywa city, and was staying in Nandawun ward of Chan Mya Tharsi Township in Monywa, was pursuing his degree course in Law, according to his friend.

Reporting by Mizzima correspondent; writing by Mungpi.