Memorial Service for Arakanese Leaders Killed by Indian Army Held Around the World

Dhaka: The memorial service for Bo Raza and other revolutionary leaders who were assassinated by the Indian army in 1998 was held by the Arakanese diaspora in countries around the world on 11 February, 2012.

Ceremonies were held by Arakanese exile communities in the USA, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand on 11 February to commemorate Bo Raza and the other five Arakanese and Karen leaders who were killed by the Indian army on an island in Indian territory on the same day in 1998.

“Today is a historic blood day of our community because on this day 14 years ago our patriotic leader Bo Raza and another five leaders were killed in cold blood by the Indian army on Landfall Island in the Andaman Archipelago of India. Even though it has been 14 years, we are unable to forget them,” said Arakanese youth Ko Ba Khin, who led the memorial service in the USA.

Arakanese in Bangladesh also held a memorial service for Bo Raza and the other five leaders in the town of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, with Ko Pho Hla, president of the Arakan Freedom Movement, and other senior leaders delivering speeches.

“Bo Raza greatly sacrificed his life for the freedom of Arakan. He did not make any mistakes against India, but India killed him. We people have never forgotten this incident and they are still alive in our heart and soul. Our young generations have to follow the path of Bo Raza in order to get our freedom,” U Pho Hla told attendees at the ceremony.

Memorial service for Boraza and other leaders in USA.

Memorial service for Boraza and other leaders in USA.

“The time has reached 14 years but the Arakanese people still remember Bo Raza and the other five leaders,” said a youth in Malaysia who also urged the people of Arakan to not forget the incident and to hold the memorial ceremony both in Arakan and in other countries every year.

The incident happened in February 1998 when India’s intelligent officer Grewal lured forces from the Arakan Army, the armed wing of NUPA led by Bo Raza, and the Karen National Union based on the Thai-Burma border with fake bonds on the pretense of providing a secret naval base on Landfall Island in the Andamans.

After staying for one night to celebrate the warm welcome of their arrival on the island, Indian soldiers killed the six leaders – Bo Raza, Major Saw Tun, Major Ran Naing, Captain Lin Zan Khaing, Phado Mu Lwe, and Captain Soe Myint – and detained the remaining 36 others on charges of gun-running in what Indian forces called “Operation Leech”.

It was also learned that among the assassinated leaders. Major Saw Tun and Major Ran Naing were coming together with the military officer from the Indian army headquarters in the capital of New Delhi to receive Bo Raza and the others coming from Thailand.

Grewal, who masterminded the plan to kill the men, also managed to kill Nyi Nyi Kyaw, the in-charge of the NUPA office in Bangkok, Thailand, after the assassination, with the aim of destroying all documents and photos that evidenced his plot to kill the Arakanese leaders and imprison their forces who were fighting against the Burmese regime for democracy and human rights in their own homeland.

Additionally, the Indian army had secretly taken Ran Naing, an Arakanese rebel, and another Karen rebel who were skilled at sea navigation, from the 36 detainees jailed in the Port Blair Prison on Andaman Island and executed them.

The remaining 34 Arakanese and Karen freedom fighters were finally released by Indian authorities on 13 May of this year after 13 years in prison.