Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Farmers in Arakan State Demand Return of Their Confiscated Lands


Narinjara
Kyauk Pru: Farmers from Kyaukpru Township in western Burma’s Arakan State have written an appeal letter to the regional government demanding the return of 72 acres of farmlands which had been confiscated without compensation during the tenure of the last regime.

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“Our farmlands were forcibly confiscated from us through state orders by high ranking military officers on the pretext that it was in the state's interest, but now we have found out that this was actually done simply for personal interests. So we have written an appeal letter to the Arakan State Chief Minister U Hla Maung Tin and requested the return our confiscated farmlands”, said one of the farmers from the area.

The farmlands are situated in Minpyin Village in Kyaukpru Township and were reportedly confiscated by the former General Win Myint and Colonel Thura Maung Ni who had served as the commander and the vice-commander of the Arakan State during the rule of last SPDC regime.

The farmer said the lands are now registered under the names of the commanders’ wives.

“Now we have found out that those confiscated lands have been registered under the names of Daw Khin Cho Oo, wife of Commander Win Myint and of Daw Ma Mya Khin, wife of Vice-Commander Thura Maung Ni at the Directorate of Land Registration”, he said.

U Tin Phay, an MP from the State Parliament and the President of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party of Kyaukpru Township, also confirmed that the farmers has sent the letter addressed to the CM requesting the return of the lands.

“We can confirm the farmers have sent a letter requesting the return of their confiscated farmlands because they have also given a copy of the letter to our office”, said U Tin Phay.

Min Pyin Village area in Kyaukpru Township is also rich in onshore crude oil and confiscated lands from the village are now being fenced.

“The confiscated lands and the names of the undersigned farmers in the letter are: (1) 2 acres of farmlands and 4 acres of grazing lands owned by Daw Than Aye, (2) 1 acre of farmland and 2 acres of grazing lands owned by U -----, (3) 1 acre of farmland and 4 acres of grazing lands owned by U Hla Maung, (4) 1 acre of farmland and 1 acre of grazing land owned by U Ba Sein, (5) 1 acre of farmland and 1 acre of grazing land owned by U Thar Tun Aung (6) 4 acres of grazing lands owned by Daw Nan Khine and I could not remember the remaining lands and farmers”, said U Tin Phay.

According to sources close to the land departments, thousands of farmlands were confiscated by the armies across the Arakan State on the official reason that it was a state order and in the state's interest, but much of the lands are now being registered under the names of armies’ officers or their spouses for their own interests. This has been achieved through the use of bribes.

A minister of the Arakan State government under a condition of anonymity told Narinjara that most of the public complaint letters so far received by the state government since the U Thein Sein led regime took office are from farmers appealing for the return of their lands which had been confiscated by military officers during the last regime.

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