Buthidaung, 24 August 2016
The Buthidaung police accused three people including the vice-president of Arakan National Party’s Buthidaung unit for illegal assembly without permission few weeks back. They suppose to face punishments under the Article 19 of Peaceful Assembly Laws.
According to Ko Win Naing, one of the three accused persons, the police called them on Sunday and informed about the case. They were however released by the police on personal bond after necessary briefing.
It may be mentioned that around 500 local residents of Buthidaung, 20 miles north of Arakan’s capital Sittwe, had assembled at Aye Zaydi monastery on 17 August to raise voices against the citizenship verification committee their town. They were angry with the committee for recommending 29 Bengali Muslims as ‘naturalized’ citizen of Myanmar.
The participants in the meeting decided to launch a poster campaigning against the citizenship verification committee. They also termed all 6 members of the committee as national traitors for their actions.
At least 31 Bengali people from Buthidaung applied for Burmese citizenship, among them the committee recommended full citizenship to two persons, where it recommended for naturalized citizenship to the others.
“We want the screening process to be guided by 1982 Burmese laws, but the concerned committee simply ignored it. We believe there was no transparency in the verification process. So we opposed their decision,” said Ko Win Naing.
On 20 August, the Arakan State security & border affair minister Colonel Htin Lin came to Buthidaung from Sittwe to explain about the committee’s decision to recommend citizenship to the Bengali Muslims.
The Arakanese Buddhist is minority in Buthidaung and Maungdaw, two major townships of northern Arakan, where Bengali Muslims have larger population. The indigenous Arakanese have been arguing that those people were illegal migrants from Bangladesh. When the locals term them as Bengali people, those residents claim themselves as Rohingya people.