Fire on Rathedaung mosque: police ask Rohingyas to accept blame or face attacks

April 28, 2017

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Maungdaw- A Police officer sent from Buthidaung to investigate the fire in an ancient Rathedaung mosque has told local Rohingyas on Wednesday to accept the fact that the fire was not an arson attack, but an accident.

The official told locals in Zay De Pyin that there is of course little doubt that a Buddhist nationalist gang has set fire on the mosque. However, he said that if the Rohingyas went on to publicise this arson attack, nearby Buddhist villagers and nationalist gangs will get furious and possibly launch an attack on the Muslim settlement. They will also block the Muslims from leaving their villages and create a blockade, leading to food shortages and other problems in the village.

Under such circumstances, the official said it is best that the Rohingyas say the fire in the mosque was caused by candles.

The mosque has however long been operating on solar power.

Charges have also been pressed against the Imam of the mosque for negligence, and eight members of the mosque committee were arrested, though later released.

Incidentally, at around 9.30am on Tuesday, a small group of miscreants set fire to the ancient mosque in the area. When local Muslims rushed to the spot, hundreds of Rakhines came to the mosque and surrounded them, shouting out obscenities against the Rohingyas and the Islamic religion.

However, the Rohingyas managed to douse the fire though it did cause some damage to the interior. As the incident went viral on social media, Rakhine supported groups have been propagating the view that Rohingyas set fire to their own mosques to discredit Buddhist nationalist groups.