Arakanese farmers raise protests against government actions

( Ponna Kyunt, 4 July 2013) : Farmers in a village of Arakan have shown their strength defying the order of the authority to plough in government owned farms. The simple reason behind their stand was that they were never paid by the authority for their physical labours.

Arakan-farmersThe brave villagers hail from  Panilar, a few miles away from down town of Ponna Kyaunt, 16 miles north of Arakan capital city Sittwe have defied the authority’s order to cultivate in the government farms, informed a farmer from the village.

The Ponna Kyaunt township authority confiscated 15 acres of lands few years back in the locality and it used to engage local villagers to work without wages. The farmers also cultivated the lands without wages because of fear of punishment by the authority.

This practice continued this time too and the authority had summoned some village elders to the township office to ask them to work on the confiscated farmlands.

“But the village elders disagreed to the proposal. The township administrator U Nyi Nyi Aung even rebuked the villagers and threatened actions against them. More to it, the angry administrator declared that if found anybody agitating against the authority, he would be jailed for three years or fined kyat 1 million,” added the villager.

Following that the villagers went to Ponna Kyaunt township lawmaker U Kyaw Tun Aung with complains against the township administrator U Nyi Nyi Aung. The lawmaker requested the township administrator not to compel the farmers to cultivate the farmlands anymore.

Later the township administrator summoned the Panilar village administrator, U Aung Tin win to his office and scolded for his inability to force villagers to work in government farmlands.

At the same time, the township administrator U Nyi Nyi Aung warned the village administrator that if the authority loses annual income as the farmers had not cultivated the lands, the concerned villagers would be responsible for that.

The confiscated 15 acres of lands were actually owned by the villagers of Panilar. Hence the agitating villagers defied the order of the Ponna Kyaunt township authority and raised voices to return back their arable lands. And even after the warnings from the township administrators, the farmers maintained their stand not to plough in the government farmlands.