Monday, March 17, 2008

Burma: Referendum - Burma's security forces go into training

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Burma’s border security force, Nasaka is into intense campaigning for the ensuing constitutional referendum among villagers in Maungdaw Township . The residents are being called to their camp, said a local villager.

On March 12, Abdul Khalek (40), son of Dos Mohamed, Md. Fayas (30), son of Abdu Shukur, Rohim Ullah (35), Md. Sidique (38), Md. Ferus (45), Yusuf and four other respectable villagers were called by the Commander of Nasaka Area No.7 to the Nasaka camp. All the villagers hail from Tha Yai Gone Tan village in Maungdaw Township .

At the Nasaka camp, the villagers were given a sermon by the Commander. He said "live peacefully, we will not oppress you. Give your identity cards (ID). Don't create any problems. Voting will be soon. Convince other people about voting in the ensuing constitutional referendum.

Besides, on March 13, the villagers were also called by the Township Peace and Development Council (TPDC) Chairman Myunt Maung of Maungdaw Township to sermonize them about the ensuing referendum, but the chairman was busy that day, so he was not able to talk to them. The villagers were ordered to come to his office next week.

"Why should we vote for the government that treats us not as 'citizens with equal rights' but as guests who simply enjoy the goodwill of the hosts," a village elder said.

Most of the men and women in Arakan State don't even realize that they have been ill treated all their lives by the military junta and they (Rohingyas) have been suffering in the hands of the military since 1962. They don't have any idea that they have been treated as lesser humans in the country said a trader on condition of anonymity.

When contacted one of the villagers said, “We are afraid of ensuing referendum, as we will be forced by the concerned authorities to vote “yes” in the referendum

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