Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Events before 96 Uprising

Ten years ago in September(Correction:October) 1996, a group of YIT students had dinner at a restaurant at Sao Phwa Gyi Gone highway gate. They were having some drinks as well and happened to crush a couple of bottles accidentally. The shop owner made the scene and arguments broke out between the students and the owner which died down after the students agree to compensate every single cent. When they came out of the shop, a few policemen and some people believed to be stationed at highway gate were waiting for them at the restaurant’s entrance and started harassing them with an accusation of creating problems.
(At that time, no one knows they were students. The students later learnt that the restaurant was run by a connection of MI(military intelligence). The students, being done nothing wrong, confronted. The beatings started and all but one was arrested.

Once the YIT students at the hostels learnt the incidents from their friend who managed to escape the arrest, they marched towards the police station and demanded the release of their friends and to do everything according to the law. However, the police responded by raising guns and switching off the road lamps. The order to disperse and retreat to the hostel was issued with a warning that the shooting will start otherwise. Having very low number and with almost no eye witnesses available, the students withdrew to their hostels. The news spread like wild fires the next morning. Later in that evening, YIT hostel students from Hlaing campus marched towards Hledan Junction and demand justice and the release of the students. These students chose late evening purposely in order to avoid inconvenience for the people going back from work. With so many foreign journalists in town for Visit Myanmar Year 1996, which was recently launched, the military restrained to use force for the first time. The heads of the hostels were given order to keep the students inside by all means including showing adult films all night long starting 6pm. The demonstrations continued for a few days and at last the junta responded the students’ action by cordoned off the Hlaing campus from 6pm to 6am by army trucks and barb wires.

The arrested students were at last released (time and date which I couldn’t remember). During their arrest, one has to be sent to hospital due to injury. When they finally came back, the marks of the beatings can still be seen on their chest and backs, one of them notably had a mark of military boot. The junta was forced to call press conferences in front of the foreign media. They blatantly denied the nightly demonstrations. In stead they described these events as evening walking exercises. To the surprises of many people, they admitted that they were wrong for what had happened and comment that they would not have arrested them if they had known them as students.

To be continued….

Disclaimer: Although I was involved in 96 uprising, I was not a hostel student and hence all events related to hostel students were based on what I had learnt from my hostel friends throughout the course of September and October 96 and prone to some little errors. Anyone who found errors is welcomed to correct me through comments


Thet Naing said...

thanks for adding my link

Anonymous said...

I remember in 1996 we were prepared to take the final Exam at that time.But suddendly they announced all Uni must be closed.They closed about 3 years time.All students were nothing can do.We couldn't get a job without Degree.We couldn't do anything didn't finish our Final Exam.We wasted alots of time in our life.