Reducing opportunity for Rakhine people in Bangladesh

Narinjara News

Yangon, March 11

Rakhine own gold seized by Bangladesh authority

Rakhine people, which are one of the important minority communities in Bangladesh, seemingly lose their space of working for survival there. The Rakhine community is surviving in Cox’sbazar district of the south Asian country with little support from the Bangla authorities.

A recent incident that took place in the border town of Teknaf indicates the deteriorating situation for the Rakhines in the Muslim dominated country.

A local goldsmith named U Maung Maung Chay, who is also the head of jewellery owners’ association at Teknaf, was arrested by the Bangladesh authority from his shop on 5 March last. The law enforcing agencies sealed Chay’s house along with his business stall for few hours.

After the stipulated period, the law enforcers left the place in the evening. Later it was found that they took away all the gold pieces, which were deposited by the customers for making new ornaments in Chay’s shop. Besides the gold pieces, the men from the authority also stole various gold components, equipments and wearing gold articles. The affected Rakhine goldsmith claimed that he followed all legal procedures for his work there. He received due permission from the district magistrates, regularly paid the municipal tax, VAT and other tax to the government in Dhaka.

U Aung Tun Mra of  Teknaf locality argued that the Rakhine goldsmiths were making golden ornaments with all sincerity & honesty to fulfil the demand for the local residents.

But the incident relating to the Rakhine goldsmith unleashed an atmosphere of terror among the jewellery businessmen, mostly the minorities of south-east Bangladesh bordering Burma. They soon regrouped and demanded on 7 March that the authority must return the gold pieces taken away from Chay’s houses. They even organised a press conference in this connection.

They also observed a strike on the same day to raise their voices. All the shops remained close on 7 March for the whole day. The jewellery owners’ association appealed to the Sheikh Hasina government to take note of the situation. Moreover they urged the authority to ensure a sense of security in the locality, such that the Rakhine people run their business without any unnecessary fears.