(Narinjara News, 24 August 2014)
(In Mray Bon township of Arakan, over 1000 Muslims have applied for the Burmese citizenship status. Local authorities are presently engaged with the scrutinizing process under the guidelines of 1982 Burmese Citizenship Act. People are expecting that all the applicants would be considered as Burmese Citizens. Narinjara News talked to U Maung Maung Than, director general of Immigration Department, recently and the excerpts are here).
Q: How are you conducting the process of scrutinizing the Burmese Citizenship?
U Maung Maung Than: We have done the same as we had announced earlier. The working committee in township levels began the scrutinizing process and we are scrutinizing their application forms step by step.
Q: What is the progress you have achieved till now?
U Maung Maung Than: We have just finished ten applicants. (note-only ten applicants were addressed under the scrutinizing process in the beginning, but now it is learnt that 325 applications are scrutinized so far)
Q- How much applications forms will be scrutinized?
U Maung Maung Than: We will scrutinize all applications that would be over are 1090.
Q-What will you do to after the scrutinizing to those applicants?
U Maung Maung Than: We will follow the guidelines under the law. The successfully scrutinized applicants will be offered Burmese citizenship by the central immigration department.
Q-Do you have plans to provide Identity Cards to those applicants?
U Maung Maung Than: Yes, we will issue IC to them, who are eligible for citizenship status. That is why we are actually scrutinizing.
Q-When do you expect to implement the process?
U Maung Maung Than: The scrutinizing process in some townships has already been completed. We will hand over the outcome to the State scrutinizing committee. Finally those will be in the table of central immigration department for final decision and disposal.
Q-Which nationality will they be offered?
U Maung Maung Than: They will be defined as Bengali. They will also receive a card with the title of Bengali under the law. We will issue them a kind of identity card.
Q- Will they be allowed to enjoy all rights in our country?
U Maung Maung Than: Yes, they will do so.
Q: Will they be allowed to travel without any prohibition?
U Maung Maung Than: That is not our responsibility. We are conducting the process of scrutinization and will also issue them a card underthe law of the land.
Q- Who may be responsible for the same?
U Maung Maung Than: It should be under the purview of the administrative department under the immigration department.
Q- After Mray Bon township, which township will be covered?
U Maung Maung Than: We donot define which township we should select for scrutinization. Rather we can go to any township where they desire to apply for the citizenship status. We will do the same for them as well.
Q- What will you do for the people who do not deserve Burmese citizenship?
U Maung Maung Than: They will receive the status they deserve depending upon the scrutinizing results. Our responsibility is to issue a kind of card to them. The rest is not in our purview.