A post praising Kyi Linn — the man now in custody for the murder of the widely respected Muslim lawyer U Ko Ni — has gained over 18,000 shares and over 36,000 reactions on Facebook since being posted at around 10:30pm on Sunday night.
The post includes a photo of Kyi Linn shortly after his arrest. In the caption accompanying the original post, Tin Ko Latt writes:
Let’s honor U Kyi Linn from Mandalay who did the work of a hero by risking his life for the whole country and killing that scoundrel Nga Ni. Fee free to disagree. Tin Ko Latt.
Some of the 110 comments on the post disapprove of Tin Ko Latt’s message, and many of the shares condemn it as well. One post from yesterday says: “The murderer is not a hero. This is the work of an uneducated individual. The country cannot develop and religion cannot flourish with these kinds of people, and will only get worse.”
However, others certainly agree with Tin Ko Latt’s praise for the suspected assassin.
U Ko Ni, who was buried in Yangon today, was a legal adviser to State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and a well-known opponent of Myanmar’s notorious Protection of Race and Religion Laws, which were adopted in August 2015.
Though Tin Ko Latt’s post does not explain why he believes U Ko Ni deserved to be murdered, other posts on his Facebook profile, which has over 30,000 followers, contain anti-Muslim messages.
Myanmar’s Muslims, who make up around five percent of the population, have been victims of a surge in xenophobic sentiments, fuelled in large part by Buddhist-nationalist hardliners. However, many have accused State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD of not doing enough to combat Islamophobia in the country.
She infamously excluded Muslims from her party’s list of candidates during the 2015 national election, and more recently, her offices have actively denied allegations of human rights abuses, including rape, against the Rohingya in Rakhine State.
Thousands of people from various religious backgrounds attended U Ko Ni’s funeral on Monday afternoon, showing a strong display of love for the fallen leader. Aund San Suu Kyi was noticeably absent.
The government’s hesitancy to act in support of its minority communities appears to be emboldening people who wish violence upon Muslims.
Thousands felt comfortable publicly celebrating a murder today.