Narinjara News: September 17, 2018
by Man Yu Kyaw (Shwewa Myay)
Around 200 farmers from Kyauktaw Township, Rakhine State staged a protest yesterday (September 16) to demand the return of over 1,000 acres of military seized land.
The protesters began the march from Sasana Beikman at 1 pm yesterday and circled the town while shouting their demands.
“We want our farm back. We are protesting because we want compensation if we can’t get it back,” Daw Shwe Thar Nu, a protesting farmer, said to Narinjara News.
The farmers said the military seized over 1,000 acres of farmland from over 100 farmers from Lanmadaw, Daung Taw Yoe, Nyaung Pin Hla, and Pein Hne Chaung villages under Kyauktaw Township in the late 1990s.
When Amyotha Hluttaw U Myint Naing from Kyauktaw Township raised a question on this issue in the Amyotha Hluttaw last month, the Deputy Minister for Defence Rear-Admiral Myint Nwe replied that the Tatmadaw has no plan to release the farmland as compensation has already been given.
“He said that compensations have already been given for the seized farmland. We still haven’t received any compensation,”U Kyaw Hla Tun, a farmer from Nyaung Pin Hla Village, said to Narinjara News in response to this issue.
Among the seized farmland, most of it was seized by the 9th Military Operations Command (MOC-9) and the 375th, 374th, and 376th battalions have also seized farmland, according to U Kyaw Hla Tun.
“Over 1,000 acres of farmland without buildings have been leased. In the past, it was leased to the owners of the seized farms. Now, it’s not leased to the farmers anymore and it is only leased to their acquaintances because we have more freedom now and the farmers have started demanding their farms back,” said U Kyaw Hla Tun.
The protesting farmers demanded the return of the military seized farmland and urged the Deputy Minister Rear-Admiral Myint Nwe to change his words and the Farmland Investigation Commission to investigate the issue.
The farmers called for a re-investigation of the issue due to differences in the Deputy Minister Rear-Admiral Myint Nwe’s answer and the ground situation.
U Kyaw Hla Tun added that the farmers became unemployed after their farmland was seized and their children could no longer attend school. The farmers became poor and they have to do odd jobs to make a living.