14 August 2017:
Local communities of Arakan on 13 August 2017 observed the 50th anniversary of Rice Killing Day in Sittwe, the capital of Arakan state.
The Burmese government at the Centre earlier prevented the celebrations in the country. However, the Rakhine state government allowed the locals to organize it. Besides Sittwe and other townships of Arakan, the anniversary was organized at Mrauk U and Minbya too.
“We observed the ceremony at Ottama hall of Sittwe. As the hall is maintained by the government, it was easier to organize the event there. It shows the improvement of situation in Burma during the last few years,” said Khaing San Aung, general secretary of 88- Rakhine generation social development organization.
The observation at Ottama hall started by 1 pm, where 200 people inclusive of monks, politicians, women and students were present on the occasion.
Well known author U Ba Gyi Kyaw addressed the gathering and revealed that the first rice killing day was observed on 13 August 1967. On the fateful day, the Burmese Army killed over 100 Arakanese people on the streets of Akyab (earlier name of Sittwe) as they gathered for a peaceful demonstration asking the Burmese military government more volumes of rice.
Daw Aye Nu Sein, vice-president of Arakanese National Party commented that though the incident took place 50 years back, the people of Arakan have not forgotten it.
In that year, during the rainy season, the military government procured a large volume of rice from the Arakanese farmers with an aim to export to different countries including China. On the other hand, the locals were starving and the military government put a deaf ear to their plights.
Finally the angry mob started pouring on the streets demanding adequate foods from the government. As the situation turned worse, the military personnel opened fire on the demonstrators, where over 100 Arakanese were killed and several wounded.