Authorities restrict Arakanese public meeting in Rathidaung

Maung Aye

Rathidaung: The local authorities have imposed some restrictions on an Arakanese public meeting that is planned to be held soon in Rathidaung in Arakan State.

Members of Arakanese public meeting in Rathidaung.

U Ko Ko Maung, a member of the committee for organizing the meeting, said they had planned to hold the meeting for two days, but the authorities have allowed them only one day and also restricted the number of people who will attend the meeting.

“Now only one day is allowed for our meeting. When we submitted our application for official permission, the authorities told us that we did not need their permission and to do our job ourselves. Now they tell us that they will allow only one day for the meeting. We do not understand why they have done this to us”, he said.

Rathidaung is situated some 20 miles north of Sittwe, a politically active town in Arakan State. The public meeting is scheduled to be held on 25 and 26 September in the town.

“We informed to the township in-charge of the police about holding a public meeting since we have formed the committee. When we submitted the applications issued by the police after filling the number of speakers, their personal information and the topics of their speeches, the police told us that our meeting is a big one and that we need to submit more details about the meeting. So, we have submitted the applications to the police again with more details about the meeting. On the evening of September 17, we were called again and had to submit the list of people who will attend to the meeting”, said U Ko Ko Maung.

He said the organizing committee has submitted the lists of 28 speakers and 630 peoples who will attend the meeting, but the police in-charge have permitted the committee only 10 speakers and 200 attendants for the meeting.

The authorities are said to have summoned and told the committee that they allowed only one day for the meeting just after they held the billboard-raising ceremony of the meeting on Thursday’s morning.

“The authorities who include a township administrator, military operation commander and township in-charge of the police have called on us and told us that they will allow only one day for the meeting because many people from all 17 townships will come to attend the meeting in the town”, he said.

The public meeting is planned to be held by the committee with their said aims in order to assist the investigation commission of Arakan’s unrest by submitting the Arakanese public desires and voices that will be attained from the meeting.

“We will try all possible ways within the legal boundaries so that we can hold our meeting for two days. We are now also planning to go step by step to the levels of district and state authorities and finally to the President U Thein Sein until we get permission according to our plan. We are now sending information about the matter to every level of the authorities as well”, said U Ko Ko Maung.

He said the meeting is very necessary and they do not want to waste the donations contributed by well-wishers for holding the meeting and are trying their best to make the meeting possible to be held for two days from 25 to 26 September, adding that the people from distant townships are invited to come to the town by September 24.