Rohingya Vision

Tax Imposed on Rohingyas Applied for Citizenship under Bengali Ethnicity

Tax Imposed on Rohingyas Applied for Citizenship under Bengali Ethnicity
July 27
00:56 2015

By Rohingya Mirror

(Rohingya Vision) — Myanmar’s immigration in Maungdaw Township has imposed a new form of tax charges on the Rohingyas applied for the citizenship by going through citizenship verification process under Bengali Ethnic Category.

The citizenship verification also known as Green Card Programs has been being implemented against the local indigenous Rohingyas implemented in a way that gives them a foreigner image. The Green Card (not to be confused with US’ Green Card or anything equivalent to it) has two year validity of stay in the country and it is being

Earlier, the government has made many attempts to forcibly register the Rohingyas as Bengalis but every time, they met with the fierce oppositions of the people. Therefore, this time around, although the green card card has omitted the category of ethnicity, yet it is largely understood that the government’s officials register the Rohingyas as Bengalis in the official forms against their consents.

There were some Rohingya people that either were forced to apply for the citizenship through the program or fell into the traps of the sugar-coating officials. And the recent imposition of tax resembles to the tax which is usually imposed on the foreigners, not citizens.

Last week, Major General Thein Swe, In-charge of Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP) along with U Aung Myint, the Rakhine state MP representing Maungdaw Constituency and other USDP members held a meeting with some local Rohingya representatives in Maungdaw regarding the citizenship process of the Rohingyas. In the Major General Thein Swe explained to the people that if the people and their grandparents have National Registration Cards (NRCs), they are eligible to apply for the citizenship cards also known as Pink Cards. If they don’t have complete documents of all, they need to go the citizenship verification.

Believing in his words, some local Rohingyas who have the required documents mentioned-above have applied for the citizenship cards (Pink Cards) at the Maungdaw Immigration Office. On July 22, the immigrations summoned the applicants and asked them to deposit a tax of Kyat30 in Myanmar Economic Bank (a State-Owned Bank).

One of the applicants, asking not to be named, said “yes, they have imposed a tax of Kyat30 against us. But we haven’t paid it yet. The immigration officials are acting contrary to what Major General Thein Swe has earlier said.

The officials are conducting the verification process by treating us as if foreigners. They ask a lot of complicated and confusing questions. For examples, ‘Which country have you arrived from? When did you arrive in? etc.

I’d like to advice my fellow Rohingyas to observe our situation and see outcomes first; and then, to take a decision to apply for the citizenship or not.”

As it stands today, till date, only scores of people have applied for the citizenship going through the process under Bengal ethnicity.

There were people that have put their names on the list of the people willing to go through process. The list has been being made by to the state MP, U Aung Myint. Now, since the people have heard the news of the imposition of a new tax against the applicants, they are confused and ambiguous over the future status and now withdrawing their names from the list.

On the other hand, a delegation formed with Rohingya members of USDP Party arrived in Maungdaw from Yangon around 7:00PM on July 22. They are reported to have held a meeting with Maungdaw District Immigration Head and Brigadier General Tin Ko Ko, commander of the No.1 BGP (Border Guard Police) Headquarter in Maungdaw.

The locals are of the opinion that they have arrived in Maungdaw in order to coax the local people to go through the Citizenship Verification Process under Bengali Ethnic Category. Hence, they assert that if the delegation team try to coax the people for it, they will refuse the attempts by the delegation outright.

An educated Rohingya youth in Maungdaw, regarding the arrival of the delegation, said “the people arrived from Yangon do not represent the whole Rohingya community. There are some MPs elected by locals in 2010 included in the delegation. They just took the votes and escaped. They have never shown their faces again after 2010. They have not done anything for the people since then.

No MP gave any protection to the innocent people while they were being arrested and imprisoned en masse during 2012 violence. Now, it is extremely sad that they have appeared again but only to blabber and coax the people in favour of the government’ interest.

We won’t accept any Card if we have to accept it calling ourselves as Bengalis.”

[Edited by M.S. Anwar]

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