Friday, 18 December 2015

Five people who were sent to jail for their involvement in printing a calendar that stated that Rohingya Muslims are an ethnic-religious minority in Myanmar appeared for the third time at Yangon’s Pazundaung Township Court yesterday, charged under section 505(b) of the Penal Code.

Section 505(b) provides imprisonment for anyone making, publishing or circulating information which may cause public fear or alarm, and which may incite people to commit offences “against the State or against the public tranquillity”.

On November 21, the police searched Kyaw Press, situated at 54th Street, Pazundaung Township, and found 52 printing plates and 3,490 printed papers. Subsequently Pazundaung Township Police Force Police Major Khin Maung Latt registered a case against Kyaw Press owner Hoke Shwe (aka Kyaw Kyaw), Manager Ye Thu Aung, employees Win Naing aka Marmek, Zaw Min Oo (aka Harnik) and bookbinder Win Htwe (aka Ismail) as well as the man accused of ordering the calendar, Aung Khin, under section 20 of the Printing Law. They were consequently fined 1 million kyats each by Pazundaung trial court on November 23.

Defence lawyer Myo Min Swe representing Win Naing told Mizzima, “This case was finished with a 1 million kyat each fine on November 23 but the Pazundaung Police Station Police Major charged this case again under section 505(b) of Penal Code on November 24. Aung Khin who ordered the printing has absconded. The remaining five will be produced before the court today. The accused, Aung Khin, came to my client’s printing press ‘Shwe Letyar’ but he told him that he could not accept the order as his press was overloaded with other job orders and suggested he go to another printing press on 54th Street and so he was charged with abetting,”.

He further said that the case would take a long time as the court would examine prosecution witnesses first and then his client later.

During the court’s witness examination, prosecution witness Saw Tun, the Shwepyithar Township Ward No. 19 administrator, said that he visited and inspected the house of Aung Khin at No. 1018, Khwarnyo Street, Ward No. 19 on November 25 at 2 a.m. with Pazundaung police station House Officer and beat constable Aung Win. Aung Khin’s daughter told them that the house was a rented house and her father was out at the moment. The witness also told the court that they heard that Aung Khin might stay at his son’s house in Shwepyithar Township, Ward No. 20.

Today’s court proceedings were witnessed by the Htantabin Abbot from the Patriotic Myanmar Monks’ Union under directions given to him by the nationalist Buddhist organisation Ma Ba Tha.

The Htantabin Abbot said, “Our abbot U Parmaukkha came and witnessed the first hearing but today he was not free and asked me to come and witness the hearing. The statement given today by the prosecution witness was evasive and he didn’t give straight and clear answers. It will be premature to give comments on this case at the moment. We will continue to watch and monitor this case.”

The Pazundaung Township court judge Nay Aung Myin has fixed the next hearing for the 23rd of this month.

The Burmese (Myanmar) armed forces have been abusing the local Rohingyas as forced labours in southern Maungdaw for weeks, according to the local sources.

It has been learnt that the armed forces such as the Military and the Border Guard Police (BGP) force the local Rohingyas in ‘Kyauk Pandu (Shitaaf)’ village to labour in their camps from 6:00AM to 6:00PM on daily basis. If any Rohingya fails to follow their order, they humiliate and beat him; and extort money from him.

“There are two BGP camps and one military camp in ‘Kyauk Pandu’ village. Kyauk Pandu is a Rohingya village known as Shitaaf in Rohingya.

There are 800 households with a population of 9707. A member of each of the households has to work as forced labour more than twice in a month.

And hence, every day, nine people are subjected as forced labours in the military camp, while five people have to do labour works at each of the two BGP camps.

They are forced to work for the whole day without any payment under harsh conditions. They are subjected to mow grass; clean the premise and the lavatory; carry water; sweep floors; do cooking; water the plants and trees; and do other general stuffs,” said a local in southern Maungdaw.

Similarly, the Rohingyas from the nearby village, Thinbaw Kway (Kullon), are also said to be often falling victims into the forced labouring by the armed forces. Consequently, the poor villagers who find their bread and butter working on daily basis are finding difficult to survive.

At least five houses were destroyed and numbers of families were displaced following a landslide in the ancient ‘Apauk Wa’ Rohingya village in Kyauktaw Township on Tuesday night, a local said.

The landslide which occurred around 11:00PM on December 15 night also killed an elderly Rohingya person visiting the village from ‘Sidir Kul (Thaydar Kadi)’ village of ‘Punna Gyun’ Township. The landslide was reportedly triggered by a strong wind and the rising water in the adjacent river, according to a local of ‘Apauk Wa’ village also known as ‘Afauk.’

Some of the victims of the landslide have taken shelter with their kin, some others have been residing in the premises some other villagers. As the landslides are likely to occur more, the locals have begun to desert their settlements in the dangerous since yesterday.

Since the landslides hit the village, the displaced families have been under serious condition as they are having no humanitarian reliefs. The local Burmese authorities have ignored the victims as well, according to a local man in Kyauktaw.

“One old man has been missing and more than five houses were destroyed. The other families have also left their homes as it is likely that more landslides will occur.
But nobody has provided them any help. They are in serious condition. They need help,” said U Maung Maung, a local Rohingya man in Kyauktaw.

“The landslides have been taking place, destroying the Rohingya homes and depreciating their lands for years. During the floods and the cyclone Komen last July, more than 40 families their homes. They are still struggling. But the government and the other relief agencies have been ignoring them,” he continued.

The ‘Apauk Wa’ is an ancient Rohingya village located nearby a river and surrounded by the hostile Rakhine (Magh) village. The government has not provided them any help to prevent the further landslide although they (the government) floored the river bank with stones to prevent the landslides against a Rakhine village not so far away. And the Rohingya villagers are too poor to take any such kind of protective measure from further landslides.

The Burmese (Myanmar) Border Guard Police (BGP) robbed a house of a Ronhingya widow in northern Mangdaw on Tuesday night, the locals report.

The victim is identified to be 75-year-old Daw Mamuda from northern hamlet of ‘Ngakura (Nagpura)’ village tract. Around six BGP staffs — from the Ngakura Camp under the Commandment Area (Nay Myay) 5 — broke into her home around 9:00PM on December 15 and committed the robbery.

“Having destroyed the fence and the door, around 6 BGP personnel broke into the resident of the widow, Daw Mamuda, the wife of the late chairman of Ngakura village tract on Tuesday night. They searched her house and nothing illegal was found.

Yet, the BGP put a ‘Bangla SIM’ card into the rice bag by themselves. And they extorted Kyat 300,000 from her after accusing her of possessing illegal Bangala SIM Card.

Besides, they robbed Kyat 600,000 found in her locker,” said a relative of hers on the condition of anonymity.

The ruthless BGP extort money from the local Rohingya Muslims on arbitrary accusation, rob money and properties and break into their homes. Sometimes, they even go to the extent of killing innocent people. However, no higher authorities have taken actions against these ruthless BGP yet.

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Maung daw, Arakan state, Myanmar (Burma)
I am an independent man who voted to humanitarian aid.