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Wednesday, March 30, 2016, Chaitra 16, 1422 BS, Jamadius Sani 20, 1437 Hijri

Myanmar lifts Rakhine emergency
Published :Wednesday, 30 March, 2016,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 10

YANGON, Mar 29 : Myanmar's outgoing government on Tuesday lifted a state of emergency in conflict-hit Rakhine, a parting gesture that coincides with turbulent relations between Aung San Suu Kyi's new administration and the western state's powerful Buddhist political party.
Rahkine is deeply scarred by communal violence between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims that began in 2012, presenting one of the most acute challenges for Myanmar's first popularly elected government in decades.  
In a surprise move Tuesday outgoing president Thein Sein announced the removal of the emergency order, which had been in place since unrest left scores dead and tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims confined to miserable displacement camps. "According to the Rakhine State government, there is currently no threat of danger to people's lives," said a statement in state media announcing the order, which will see the military step back from providing day-to-day security in the region. Rohingya were denied participation - both as voters and as candidates - in the November vote. Before the elections, religious tensions were high, with the NLD deciding not to field a single Muslim candidate on its lists of more than 1,100 hopefuls.
The Rohingya are widely disliked in Myanmar, where they are seen as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh - including by some in Suu Kyi's party. She risks haemorrhaging support by taking up their cause.
While Rakhine has not seen a serious outbreak of violence in more than two years, the state remains fractured on religious lines. Most Muslims are trapped either in camps or in heavily regulated areas near the border with Bangladesh.  A rising tide of Buddhist nationalism in Myanmar has fuelled discrimination against the Muslim minority, seen by many as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.
"We think the situation is good. But any politician can see that Rakhine State is very sensitive and it would be easy for it to explode at any time," said Aye Maung, chairman of the Arakan National Party (ANP), which represents ethnic Rakhine Buddhists.  
The president's order comes a day after Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy faced protests by lawmakers from the ANP -- one of Myanmar's strongest minority parties -- over the NLD decision to appoint a candidate from its own
party to be the state's chief minister.      ?AFP, REUTERS

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