September 21, 2017
An assassin shot him in the head at close range as he was about to leave Yangon airport in his family car. He fell to the ground, bleeding.
This was how U Ko Ni, a lawyer and member of the ruling National League for Democracy in Myanmar, was killed on January 29 this year.
“During the shooting, he was holding his grandchild,” said a witness.
Ko Ni was also a prominent human rights campaigner and legal adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi. But he needs to be remembered for many more reasons.
The man was credited with finding the legal and constitutional loopholes that allowed the formation of the State Counsellor’s role and enabled Suu Kyi to become the de facto head of government last year.
Born near Katha in Saigang Division in 1953, Ko Ni was the son of a Muslim man and a Burmese woman. In the early 1900s, his father came to Burma from India through his work with the British-Indian army.
Now Myanmar, Burma back then was considered part of the British-Indian colonial empire. His mother was a Buddhist, and daughter of a Muslim man and a Buddhist woman.
Being a son of an immigrant and a Muslim is not a very good combination in Myanmar.