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Township Administrator Threaten Sanctuary Committees in Buthidaung

By Rohingya Mirror

Buthidaung, Arakan State (Rohingya Vision) – The Township Administrator has recently threatened the Islamic Sanctuary Committees in Buthidaung Township for repairing religious buildings damaged by the cyclone Komen.

Quite a number of Mosques and Religious Schools were damaged by the cyclone storm and the floods that hit Arakan State early this August. However, as the President Thein Sein paid visit to Buthidaung subsequently after the storm, he encouraged and gave permission to the people to repair or build any religious building damaged/destroyed the storm.

Therefore, the local Rohingya Muslims too have repaired the roofs and walls of some mosques and religious schools in Buthidaung Township.

However, the administrator of Buthidaung Township, U Than Shwe (a Rakhine Buddhist Extremist), summoned with the administrators of Rohingya villages and the members of the sanctuary committees in the respective villages for meetings on September 15 and 16 respectively.

During the meeting, he abused and threatened sanctuary committee members; and used racist slurs against them. Therefore, he is obviously going against the instructions made by the President of the Country.

He said “do you think it’s a lawless country? Why are you doing as you wish? There is a government ruling this country. Don’t you Bengalis (referring to the Rohingyas) know that?

Don’t you understand the law? You blood animals without brains.”

Order Letter Issued to the Rohingya Village Administrators that restricts repairing mosques and religious schools freely.

He further threatened “from whom do you take permission from to repair the mosques and your religious schools? We have detailed information on who have repaired how many mosques.

If you continue repairing the mosques and Arabic schools anymore, we will close them down and imprison those who are behind these. If you want to repair, you must apply for permission to us first.”

Nevertheless, the local Rohingya Muslims dare not apply for the permissions because the township administrator and the head of the township religious department charge Kyat 1 Million for a repair work that will cost only Kyat 0.5 Million. Even if the Rohingyas give them the money they demand, they drag from six months to one year to issue the permission to repair the religious structures.

Worse, even when they issue the permission, they fix how big of the area of a mosque or a religious school allowed to be repaired. If the people happen to repair even one inch more than the fixed area, they force them to break it. They never issue the permission to upgrade the structures of the buildings.

This restriction on the freedom of the religion is one of the many human rights violations that have been taking place against Rohingyas for decades.  

[Edited by M.S. Anwar]

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