Mrauk U, March 6
At least 28 Muslim were arrested by the police on Saturday as they were found digging earth from the Mrauk U archaeological site. Mrauk U archaeology department director general
U Nyein Lwin informed that those people were involved in digging activities, which are prohibited in Mrauk U, an ancient city of Arakan.
“I had issued a strict notice prohibiting any digging activity in those ancient areas but they did not follow my direction. So I went to the location along with other officials and finally ordered to arrest
the offenders,” said U Nyein Lwin.
Mrauk U is a historically important location where lot of fortress is found. Some time back, the Burma Army (LIB.378 battalion) had confiscated the area, but later the battalion shifted to another palace compound.
An Mrauk U elder informed that some individuals from the authority itself were behind the deal to sell the earth to some local businessmen. He expressed dismay that the Mrauk U mountain had already lost half of its earth due to digging activities.
Responding to Narinjara’s queries on how to safeguard the location when some individuals from the authority itself were involved in the illegal business, the Mrauk U Nyein Liwn said, “The judiciary should step in here. The judges should examine the matter and pronounce orders accordingly. We must make everyone accountable for illegal activities irrespective of their religion or community.”
Most of the arrested Muslim settlers are still in under ages. Among them 10 are found matured in their ages and they will be prosecuted under the archaeology laws. However, the underage youths will be
freed with necessary warnings, said U Myint Thaung, the in-charge officer at Mrauk U police station.
“Most of the arrested Muslims hail from Paung Dock village. They were involved with the business of earth-selling for some time in those localities,” he added.
The local residents allege that many ancient buildings of Mrauk U were facing tough time as the authority was not active in preservation initiatives. They however appreciated the new Mrauk U archaeology department director general for his prompt action to arrest the culprits this time.