Local farmers threatened by Burmese army for reporting farm confiscations

Minbya: The local farmers in Minbya Township in Arakan State have been summoned and threatened by the Burmese army reportedly for filing a complaint to the higher authorities over their farms being confiscated by the army.

ploughing

They are said to be 28 farmers from Min Ywa and Htone Chay Ywa Villages under Awa Village Group in Minbya Township.

A local village elder on condition of anonymity told Narinjara that the farmers were threatened after summoning them to a local army battalion on 10th of December by the commander of the Tactical Operation Command in the area.

“The TOC commander summoned them to the LIB-379 and investigated their complaints about the forcible confiscation of their farms by the army. He dismissed them after warning that he will take action against them if they complain of the farm confiscations to the higher authorities again”, said the village elder.

The LIB-380 is said to have confiscated 325 acres of their paddy farms and pasturelands situated in Awa Village Group in Minbya Township in 2004 and have been renting this back to them in exchange for cultivations like the Indian Cheetairs who exploited the Burmese farmers during the British colonial era in Burma.

The elder said the commander summoned them to the station of the LIB-379 through the police of the Minbya Police Station even though their farms have been confiscated by the LIB-380 because the LIB-379 is nearer to their village in the area.

“The commander has also told the farmers that they do not need to pay the paddy-rent to the army this year and that the army will not rent the farms to them in the next year”, said the elder.

He said the farmers have been suffering from severe poverty since their life-giving farms were forcibly confiscated and exploited by the army.

So, they have written their complaints to the higher authorities requesting the return of their farms confiscated by the army, but they still have no hope to get back their farms.

The TOC commander summoned and intimidated the farmers over their complaints while the parliamentary commission has been conducting field investigations on the confiscations of arable lands by the army in Arakan State.