Rape accusation that sparked Myanmar riot 'false'

Mobs gathered outside Muslim-owned teashop after rumours spread on social media that 2 of the shop’s owners had raped Buddhist woman.

Rape accusation that sparked Myanmar riot 'false'

World Bulletin / News Desk

A rape accusation that sparked deadly riots in Myanmar this month was fabricated during a bitter personal feud, state media have reported.

Religious violence that left two men dead – a Buddhist and a Muslim – erupted in the country’s second largest city of Mandalay on July 1.

Mobs gathered outside a Muslim-owned teashop after rumors spread on social media that two of the shop’s owners had raped a Buddhist woman.

The ensuing violence lasted for three days and injured more than 20 people. A nighttime curfew brought in to suppress the mobs was still in place Monday.

The government-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported Sunday that the woman who made the allegations was paid to do so by two men involved in a personal dispute with the teashop owners.

A medical examination of the woman “found no sign of rape,” the report said, adding that “after a detailed investigation she confessed that she accused the two men because she was paid.”

Police have arrested the woman as well as one of the men accused of paying her, the report added.

The unrest is the latest episode in two years of anti-Muslim violence that has raised grave doubts about the former military-ruled country’s reform process. Up to 280 people have been killed and at least 140,000 displaced.

Most of the violence has been perpetrated by extremist members of the country’s Buddhist majority against Muslims.

Deep-seated religious tensions that were largely suppressed under the military junta began to boil over after a reformist government relaxed a series of repressive policies.

Many of the flare-ups since mid-2012 started following rumors of wrongdoing by Muslims.

The nationalist monk Wirathu, renowned for anti-Muslim views, was among those who posted about the rape allegation on his Facebook page, drawing accusations that he helped to stoke the riots.

Since Internet access became more widespread in the formerly isolated country, many have warned of rampant anti-Muslim hate speech on social media.  

Last Mod: 21 Temmuz 2014, 12:04
Add Comment