Shan State Railway to Suppress Armed Ethnic Groups: Rights Groups
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Shan State Railway to Suppress Armed Ethnic Groups: Rights Groups

By WAI MOE Tuesday, August 17, 2010


The Burmese junta is building a strategic railroad from southern Shan State to eastern Shan State to suppress ethnic armed groups, particularly the United Wa State Army (UWSA), Shan ethnic human rights groups said at a press conference on Tuesday.

At the launch of a campaign opposing construction of the new railway begun in 2009 from Mong Nai to Kengtung, the Shan Women Action Network (SWAN) and Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF) said the railroad, which runs near the Thai-Burmese border, is directly related to the junta's military strategy to suppress ethnic armed forces.

Construction of the railway in eastern Shan State (Photo: MNA)
The junta is targeting ethnic armed groups such as the UWSA, the largest of the groups with an estimated 30,000 trops, that are opposed to the junta's border guard force plan, they said.

Speakers from the two Shan groups claimed the main reason for construction of the 361-kilometer railway is to cut communications between UWSA troops in southern and northern Shan State.

The military junta claims the project will promote development and is for better transport of local people.

“The rail project is for transporting the junta's amour and artillery from divisions in the southern to the eastern part of the state,” said Puen Kham of the SHRF. “It is the first railway to cross the Salween River in Shan State."

The railway project began with the recently completed first section between Taungyi, the headquarters of the Eastern Regional Military Command of the Burmese armed forces, and Mong Nai.  

Local residents in southern Shan State say they prefer to travel by road on this route since it takes far less time.

“The railway is really for transporting goods. It takes a day to travel by car but three days if we go by train,” said one resident.

Once the Mong Nai-Kengtung railway has been completed, the Eastern Regional Military Command in Taungyi will have direct contact by rail with the Triangle Regional Military Command in Kengtung.

The railway will permit better mobilization of military equipment including tanks, howitzers and multiple rocket launchers in Shan State and the Thai-Burmese border area, the Shan groups said.

Ying Harn Fah of SWAN said the project is causing human rights violations along its route with land confiscation affecting an estimated 1,000 acres of rice fields in Mong Nai and 2,000 acres of agriculture land in Kengtung.

Meanwhile, Burmese newspapers have often reported in recent months that Chief of the Bureau of Special Operations-2, Lt-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, has inspected the railway project along with Maj-Gen Ya Pyae, commander of the Eastern Regional Military Command and Maj-Gen Kyaw Phyo, commander of the Triangle Regional Military Command. 

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Sai Htee Saing Wrote:
I am not anti-Burmans at all. If I were, I might already have killed some. So far I forgive the Burmans even though they committed so many crimes in Shanland. I just hope that we all enjoy democracy and freedom in the Union of Burma. I am not against my Burmese fellows but I am anti-military dictatorship, man.

Myanmar Patriots Wrote:
Shans are Myanmars just as Bamars are; they are more loyal to the Kingdom of Burma than the holier-than-thou Bamar disintegrationists/Panglongists, so ignorant of historical legacies.
Yes, we totally agree with Sai Htee Saing with respect to democracy but his "Burmans having dirty business" allegations is 'Walone chee thote'; majority of Bamars dislike the top military echelon enjoying all the wealth, that belongs to ALL the people of Burma.

By the way, Burmans means Myanmars whereas Bamar means Burmans or Bamar ethnicity.
Sort out your semantics.

In any case, it is legitimate to supress all rebels no matter what their ethnicity is. Wake up and think Myanmar or Burmese, not Bamar!

Our country is on the brink of a new era. Don't let the neo-colonials and the traitors ruin it! We will sort out the wrong doings humanely and justly.
Nothing is permanent.

Pahsun has jaundiced view of history.USA has civil war! Confedreate is a DIRTY word! We are fighting aganist disintegration!

myo chit Wrote:
Sai Htee Saing - If you are so anti-Burman, why do you Burmanize the spelling of your name. Should that not be Sai Htee Hseng?

Sai Htee Saing Wrote:
If we want to kill, we are able to kill all Burmese soldiers stationed in Shan State. But killing is not our aim but democracy. Railroad means the best to attack but we would never do that. Than Shwe and the Burmans may have dirty business, we the Shans will not run this kind of dirty business at all.

pahsun Wrote:
Collectively how thick skulled a Cro Magnon is SPDC or am I giving them too much credit?
Policies similar to theirs such as in Yogoslav and Russia did not work. Even China has problems. Enslaved people eventually achieve freedom. Just look at USA and South .Oppression will never put the lid 3T7Mon innate desire for individuals to be FREE

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