By U Kyaw Myint- Sallam Oic
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Sittwe (Akyab): The newly appointed Rakhine State Chief Minister U Maung Maung Ohn and his team met Rohingya Community in Sittwe on Tuesday, sources say.
The meeting was Maung Maung Ohn’s first meeting with local Rohingya community since he has been appointed as the chief minister of the state. Accompanying him in the meeting were
1) Western Military Command Maj-Gen Aung Lin Htwe and his team,
2) Rakhine State Border Affairs Minister Colonel Htin Lin and his team,
3) Chief of the Rakhine State Police Force Colonel Nay Myo and his team
4) and Rakhine State Immigration Minister U Kyaw Yein Oo and his team.
U Maung Maung Ohn held preliminary talks on classifying Rohingyas as Bengalis and possible citizenships for Rohingya in the meeting held at 7:30PM on June 8.
In the meeting, he said “We will scrutinize Muslims in Rakhine State under 1982 Citizenship Law latest by December this year. We will examine if there are any illegal Bengali immigrants among you as per the demands made by Rakhine ethnic people. You have to cooperate with us.
We will provide citizenships to the people that have official documentary evidences issued before 1990. But we will classify you and your race as Bengali” said an internally displaced Rohingya on the condition anonymity and quoting the speech delivered by the minister.
Afterwards, U Aung Thein on behalf of Rohingya representatives gently replied “we are glad to have a chance to meet your Excellency Minister U Maung Maung Ohn. We, first of all, would like to greet your Excellency, Regional Military Commander and all other gentlemen in the meeting.
We, Muslims in Rakhine State, and our forefathers together with other ethnic people have been living here since immemorial until today. We participated in independent movements of the country and events during the time of independence. From the time of independence until 1990, we had been officially recognized as Rohingya. Post 1990, due to influence and incitement by Rakhine extremists, officials especially Rakhine state immigration has started to do crafty activities in order to wipe out not only Rohingya term but also Rohingya History.
However, according to historical evidences and in the earlier government official list of 144 indigenous ethnic groups included and recognized us as not Bengali but Rohingya. Although our ethnic name in the later government official list of 135 indigenous groups was removed, yet it didn’t mention that we are Bengalis. We want to hold a dialogue with the government according to historical evidences. Gentle men can also find the term ‘Rohingya’ in historical evidences.
Nonetheless, we have been forcibly branded a label of illegal Bengali immigrants only post 1990 due to the demands made by the extremist section of Rakhine community. We are historically and racially Rohingyas. If the union government refuses us as Rohingya, we are sorry to say that we won’t be able to cooperate. We abide by the existing union law. We kindly request you to consider us under the existing union law and from humane point of view.”
Rohingya community representatives that attended the meeting are:
1) U Aung Thein from Aung Mingalar Quarter
2) U Shwe Hla from Aung Mingalar Quarter
3) U Hla Kyaw from Aung Mingalar Quarter
4) U Maung Maung Sein from Thay Chaung village
5) U Hla Kyaw from Thay Chaung village
6) U Shomshu from Thay Chaung village
7) U Ba Sein from Thay Chaung village
8) U Ba Maung from Thay Chaung village
9) U Shwe Maung from Bumay Quarter
10) Retired Police Officer U Hla Myint from Dar Paing village
11) Mv Amin Shariff from Dar Paing village
12) U Maung Ba from Dar Paing village
13) Mv Muhiyiidin from Thakkay Pyin Village
14) And U Oathman from Ohn Daw Gyi IDP Camps.
*Rakhine State was formerly known as Arakan state.
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