Demonstrators take shelter behind a barricade and some vehicles as riot police officers stand in front of them during a protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on March 1. (Reuters)
Demonstrators take shelter behind a barricade and some vehicles as riot police officers stand in front of them during a protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on March 1. (Reuters)

Concerned by loss of lives in Myanmar, India calls for restraint

least 18 people were killed and 30 more injured when Myanmar police fired on protesters across the country on Sunday, the UN human rights office said, citing credible information it had received
By HT Correspondent | Edited by Smriti Sinha
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 04:08 PM IST

India has expressed concern at the loss of lives in protests in several cities of Myanmar against last month’s military takeover and called for all stakeholders to exercise restraint while settling issues through dialogue.

At least 18 people were killed and 30 more injured when Myanmar police fired on protesters across the country on Sunday, the UN human rights office said, citing credible information it had received. It said the use of lethal force against non-violent demonstrators is “never justifiable” under international human rights norms.

“Embassy of India is deeply saddened by loss of lives in Yangon and other cities of Myanmar [on Sunday]. We express our heartfelt condolences to families and loved ones of those deceased,” the Indian embassy in Yangon said on Twitter.

“We would urge all to exercise restraint and resolve issues through dialogue in a peaceful manner,” it added.

Also Read | Myanmar court files 2 more charges against Suu Kyi; protesters march again

The deaths on Sunday marked the bloodiest day in weeks of protests against the February 1 military coup. The deaths occurred as a result of live ammunition fired into crowds in Yangon, Dawei, Mandalay, Myeik, Bago and Pokokku, UN human rights office spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said.

Since the beginning of the coup, police and security forces have targeted an “ever-increasing number of opposition voices and demonstrators by arresting political officials, activists, civil society members, journalists and medical professionals”, Shamdasani said.

On Sunday, police detained at least 85 medical professionals and students and seven journalists who were at demonstrations. More than 1,000 people were arbitrarily arrested and detained without due process in February, and some of them remain unaccounted for, Shamdasani added.

India has adopted a cautious position on the developments in Myanmar because of its good relations with both the civilian leadership and the military, as well as its security concerns linked to the northeastern states. India’s security forces have worked with their Myanmar counterparts in recent years to pressure militant groups from the northeast that have bases in the neighbouring country.

Soon after the coup, India had expressed deep concern and emphasised its support for the process of democratic transition in Myanmar. It also called for the rule of law and the democratic process to be upheld.

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