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Massacre on July 7th, 1962.

By U Aung, July 6, 2002, Bangkok.

On March 2 1962, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Burma, instead of
defending the Constitution of the Union and the government elected by the
people according to the rules and regulations stipulated by the Constitution
was toppled and the Constitution was suspended. General Ne Win, once Shu
Maung, a Sino-Burmese, as the Chief of Staff formed the Revolutionary
Council [RC] with his Vice Chief of Staff for Army Brigadier Aung Gyi, Vice
Chief of Staff Air Force Tommy Cliff, Vice Chief of Staff Navy Commodore
Than Pe, and top Colonels.

The RC, with an excuse of "containing the deterioration situation of Burma"
came into power and had been brandishing their power to revolutionize every
sector of the people, which did not spare the peaceful life of the students
of the Rangoon University. The RC promulgated Hostel Rules and Regulations;
one of the points was that all students must be in their respective room by
9 PM by all means and the Wardens would be inspecting their room, every
night. Students could not bear such suppressive rules that treated them like
kids.

The historic Rangoon University Student Union [RASU] was chosen by the
Hostel Union as the rallying point to protest against the Hostel Rules on
July 7, Saturday at 1 PM after the classes. The students rallied on time,
the RASU's fighting Peacock flags were flying high, thousands of anti-junta
posters were pasted, and, one after another, student leaders gave speeches.
More and more students gathered in front of the Student Union and became
quite agitated. The main gate that led to the Convocation Hall on the
Adipadi Road was closed as the soldiers were posted along the fences of the
RASU and the University Compound along the University Avenue.

As time wore on agitation were channeled into action. Rector U Kar's and
his son's cars were pulled out from U Kar's residence compound on to the
Adipadi Road and torched them as a punishment for accepting such Rules. Mass
of students gathered at the closed main gate and pouring out slurs against
the soldiers: "I alone have 12th standards, I supposed three of you combined
would not even get to 4th standards?"

Meanwhile, the RC set up a Command Post at the Burma Broadcasting Station on
Prome Road, which was not so far from the Rangoon University. The meeting
was presided over by Vice Chief of Staff Brigadier Aung Gyi with full RC
members attended except the Chairman General Ne Win. At the meeting the RC
had decided to quell the demonstration, by force if necessary, and, the
historic RASU would be demolished, as it would provide rallying point for
the future students' demonstrations against the RC. The meeting decided to
get approval from the Chairman and the task was assigned to Brigadier Aung
Gyi. Aung Gyi went to see General Ne Win at his Inya Lake side villa. Aung
Gyi found the General in intense anger and was drunk so fully so much so
that the General was beyond control and at the state of incomprehension.
Aung Gyi returned without having any contact with the General. When he got
back to the Command Post he answered to the RC that "I have seen the
General". The RC assumed that the order to quell the demonstration was
approved, in fact, General Ne Win already had approved long time ago in his
screams, and the demolishment of the RASU was also decided to carry out.

The soldiers along the University Avenue, under orders, fired at will,
multi-direction. Many students were mown down like grasses. In the evening
General Ne Win broadcast from the Burma Broadcasting Station that "he would
meet sword to sword and spear to spear" to any enemy. From the same station
it was broadcast in the news that "15 rounds were fired and about 17 people
died". There were, in fact, more than 100 died. In the dead list of 17
person, for example, Aung Khin, a student from Rangoon Arts and Sciences
University, an onlooker from the front of the University Infirmary was not
included. His mother and sister were collected from their house and asked
them to identify and the authorities put the body into a coffin. Aung Khin
was nearly 6 feet tall and the coffin was short for him. The mother offered
to buy at her own expense a new bigger coffin was refused and the
authorities broke the legs, put it in and nailed the coffin. No rituals
must be performed was the order to the family.

On July 8 in the early wee hour the historic Rangoon University Students'
Union was dynamited. Brigadier Aung Gyi, knowing the back ground of General
Ne Win too well, just assumed that Ne Win would not object the demolishing
of the Union building. Young Shu Maung had an intense ill feeling against
the Rangoon University. While attending Senior Intermediate, a hostel
student Shu Maung was caught with a prostitute in his room in one evening by
a young Junior Warden U Pe Maung Tin. U Pe Maung Tin, if he could have his
own way, would have taken only disciplinary action but Senior Warden, an
Englishman pressed charges and Shu Maung was expelled not only from the
hostel but also from the University. Shu Maung became vehemently jealous of
other students who later led the independence movement from the RASU main
battleground that drove the British and the Japanese out of Burma.

Military establishment is huge, getting bigger and stronger, day by day.
Military establishment is being entrenched deeper than ever and they have
been driving and seem never arriving. From the very first year of their
establishment in 1962, the students, years after years, have been pulling
and pushing the pillars consistently that supported the military
establishment. As the result, in 1988, the students with a very strong
support from the masses as well as from the police and part of the armed
forces were able to pull down one major pillar of the military
establishment. It just simply shows that relentless and unswerving efforts
alone could demolish the military establishment. No historical records so
far show that a tiger, out of pity for the other animal, turned into a
vegetarian.

National reconciliation program if there is any, and if that program
preclude the reconciliation between the studenzenry and the armed forces,
then, Burma will not achieve a real reconciled Union where people live in
happiness and harmony.

 
     
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