Monday, 1 February 2016

Rohingya community become surprised after seeing the religious places gates had opened in the morning of the January 29 in Maungdaw, according to Halim. A human rights watchdog from Maungdaw.

The religious places – Maungdaw central Mosque (Jumma Mosque) in Maungdaw town, Maungdaw religious center (Marrcause) and Mosques from different areas under the Maungdaw municipal, Halim more said.

The Maungdaw district administration office and township administration office ordered to villages/ wards admin officers to open the gates of religious places. The gates are only outer one, not entry gates of religious places, said a caretaker of religious places who denied to be named.

“The villages/wards admin officer came to the care taker office, and told to open the gates of outside boundary only and didn’t give any reason about the opening of the gates,” The caretaker said. “The officer also said it is the order of high level officer from Maungdaw.”

Rohingya community from Maungdaw town are looking the opened gates, but no enter to the compound as they had no cleared information about the opening the gates, Ashique, a student from Maungdaw.

The gates were seen closed the next day morning (January 30).

The authority had closed and barred to enter in the religious places for praying after 2012 clash between Rohingya and Rakhine. The authority only barred and closed the Muslim religious palaces only.

High level officers led by Maungdaw deputy township administration officer – U Myint Thein and other five department officers threaten Rohingya villagers in a meeting held in Maungnama village tract on January 23 at 11:00 AM, said Mer Ali from the village said. 

The officers invited all the villagers under the Maungnama village tract to join the meeting held in the affiliated middle school of village, Mer Ali more said.

In the meeting, U Myint Thein, the deputy Maungdaw township administration officer, Naing Win Thein, officer of fishery department, Hla Htun Pryu, Township land survey officer, U Shwe Zan, township planning officer, U Tin Oo, Municipal officer and fire bridge officer, said an officer from Maungdaw who denied to be named.

The deputy township administration officer said at the meeting, anyone who built their home without permission from township administration office, planning office and Municipal office, must report to the concerned offices. Otherwise, they will be find and send to jail, the officer more added.

Similarly, the fishery department officer Naing Win Thein warned to Rohingya shrimp dam owners to pay all the taxes, or will face trail in the court, said Anwer, a fishery dam owner. “We have paid as per law the taxes, why again the officer asking taxes again.”

The officers are asking money for house hold repair, building and shrimp dams through the village admin officers before new government establish, said Jalil, an elder from Maungdaw.

In the meeting the officer of the fire bridge informed to the villagers, the department will allow the village to set on fire for cooking from 6:00 am to 11: 00 am and 6:00 pm to 9:00pm, according to Nawsima Khatun, a woman from the village.

At last, the Land Survey Office officer said that the villagers are not allowed to build houses on arable land. If the villagers want to build houses on other lands (farmlands), need to submit an application to the concerned department. If permission granted, will be able to build house, otherwise not, said Kalam, an elder from the locality said.

However, the meeting was ended at 12:00 noon.

The Myanmar (Burmese) anti-human trafficking police has been threatening the Rohingya boat-victims in Maungdaw Township for ransom for a few months.

The victims now released by the authorities and the Maungdaw court were arrested after their boat was captured by the Myanmar Navy in Bay of Bengal off Myanmar coast in May 2015.

On 21st May 2015, the Navy captured their boat with more than 200 people on board trying to flee to Malaysia. After capturing the boat, the navy informed the Maungdaw authorities and handed the people over to them.

The authorities took the boat-people on the land via the ‘Ang Ngu Maw’ jetty in southern-most Maungdaw on May 22. Of them, the authorities took away a few people (who were also Rohingyas) along with them secretly from public eyes and left 228 people behind.

From 228 people, 20 people were again separately sent to Maungdaw Police station. Of the 20 people, 8 were boat-workers from ‘Irrawaddy’ division who were later imprisoned to 8 years each for people smuggling.

From the remaining 208 people, 8 were the local Rohingyas of Kyauktaw Township and hence sent to their native township.

The Maungdaw authorities set up IDP camps at ‘Taungpyo Letwai’ sub-township in northern Maungdaw Township for the remaining 200 people and kept there for some weeks. From the 200 people, after investigations, the people identified to be the locals (Rohingyas) of Maungdaw were also released respectively.

And the authorities kept the Bangladeshi Nationals in the IDP camps for some more days with the help of UNHCR and later transferred them to Bangladesh.

Of the boat-victims of Maungdaw, four people (names withheld for security reasons) hail from ‘Kyikan Pyin (Khawar Bil)’ village have been constantly under threats of the Anti-Human Trafficking Police looking for chances to torture the victims for ransom.

“The anti-human trafficking police have summoned the victims several times through the village administration on pretext that they (the victims need to be investigated/on trial in Maungdaw. However, they didn’t meet the police for the fear of getting tortured.

On January 20, U Tin Hla, the Clerk of Crime Records Department at the Border Guard Police (BGP) in the Headquarter in Kyikan Pyin village also summoned them. However, they didn’t go and meet the police because they feared that they will face arbitrary detentions if they couldn’t fulfil the police demands for ransom.

This is just nothing but that the police are trying to torture them for ransom money. If the court requires them to be trial, why would the court acquit/release them at first,” said an elderly Rohingya in Maungdaw.

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