Sittwe: The residents from Mawlate Ward in downtown Sittwe said they had a fierce argument with the riot police deployed for maintaining security in their ward as they could not tolerate seeing the police arbitrarily harassing a youth after arresting him with gunshot in their ward.
The Arakanese youth is said to have been arrested by the police on the charge of violating the curfew when he came back from the public hospital after attending his ailing mother.
“It happened around 7:30 pm [on September 10] near the Shwe Oo Rice Shop in our ward. The youth was on his way back home after attending his ailing mother in the hospital. As it was past the curfew time, the police chased him. As he ran for fear, they arrested him with a frightening gunshot. And then they dragged him roughly along the street and mercilessly kicked and beat him”, said a female resident who witnessed the incident.
Many residents in the ward were said to have walked out from their houses to defend the youth as they could not tolerate seeing the youth being inhumanly harassed by the police.
“All the residents living in our street have seen the police torturing the youths from their houses. Feeling sympathy for the youth, they came out from their houses and told the police to arrest him according to the law and not to harass him. The police became angry and tried to attack those who spoke out for the youth. Then the argument between the residents and police became very tense and our ward administrator had to intervene in their fight. And then the police took away the arrested youth from our ward”, said the woman.
Section 144 is still in force and the people are restricted for going outside from 7 pm to 6 am in Sittwe.
“The police have shot, arrested and tortured the youth because he is an Arakanese. But they never behave the same to the Bengalis here. They even allow the Bengalis to go outside during the curfew time after taking 200 Kyat per person from them. Our ward administrator is also afraid of them to complain to the higher authorities. Now we Arakanese have nothing”, said another resident from the ward.
He said the arrested youth is around 20-years old and did not remember to ask for his identification as they had to fight with the police.
The Rakhine Nationality Development Party in Sittwe also confirmed the incident that it was mounted because of the police’s arbitrary arrest and harassment of the innocent youth before the public