(Editorial) - Communal riots and sectarian violence have been taking place in Myanmar since its first outbreak in June 2012. These incidents have led to loss of untold number of lives, injuries, caused serious damages and led to destruction of thousands of houses, property and religious buildings.
The violence has changed the way people think; it has brought about suspicion and created insecurity amongst the people.
On September 4, a fire alert was raised at a Islamic madrasa in Thingangyun township in Yangon. An inquiry committee is probing the incident with support from local authorities.
Rumors of violence have also fueled growing insecurity and intolerance amongst the different communities.
One may ask, how are we going to tackle these ongoing incidents of communal violence?
President Thein Sein has declared four ways to tackle and resolve them. At a meeting with Myanmar media persons in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on November 21, 2012, he said , “First we have to change our mindset.”
And he was very right. As responsible citizens we must orient ourselves and the way we think to get rid of the suspicions between different communities by changing our mindset.
He said further that education was the second means to tackle and resolve communal conflicts. “Upgradation of education can bring about progress of our conscience.”
The third way is to create job opportunities for the people. The President said “The people are poor. They have very no job opportunities. Living in poverty for long time can create anger. It is our responsibility to create job opportunities for the people.”
President Thein Sein also said that birth control is the fourth and final solution.
It is true that uplifting the poor through education and creating job opportunities in the conflict torn areas are the responsibility of the Union government and the ministries under it.
And, therefore, questions that one cannot help but raise at this juncture are, to what extent has the government worked to provide education in these riot-stricken areas? What have they done to create job opportunities to prevent further communal riots and sectarian violence?