Thursday, June 4, 2009

Three villagers tortured by police in Maungdaw

Maungdaw, Arakan State (KPN): Three villagers, including one woman from Maungdaw Township, were arrested on May 22 and are being tortured by the police, on suspicions that they were involved in setting fire to a video room owned by Natala villagers, a school teacher from the locality said.

Earlier, last month, some of the video rooms of Natala villagers were reduced to ashes by unknown miscreants. These video rooms were built in the villages of Kadir Bill (Nyaung Chaung), Kiladaung (Du Chee Yar Tan), Gawdu Sara and Mayrulla (Myinn Hlut) of Maungdaw Township. At that time no one was arrested by the authority regarding this matter.

After the event, at about 5:00 am, a group of Nasaka personnel from the camp of Zawmattat of Nasaka area No. 7 of Maungdaw Township went to the spot to investigate the situation.

Later, at about 9:00 am, a group of policemen from Maungdaw town went to the spot and arrested three villagers, including a mother and son because their houses were close to the video room. Police suspected that they were involved in the outbreak of fire, the teacher added.

The victims have been identified as Nur Jahan (47), wife of Md. Hashim, her son Md. Ayub (20) and Noor Mohammed (50), son of Habibur Rahman. All of them belong to Sarcombow Village of Maungdaw Township, a close relative of Nur Jahan said.

The victims are being tortured severely to get confessional statements from them. However, they are still in police custody, but no case was filed against them and they were not even produced in court.

The video room was set on fire on that day at about 3:25 am by unknown miscreants. Its owner is U Wachay, belonging to the Rakhine community, who settled in Maungdaw Township since 1992, invited by the concerned authority from Bangladesh, a villager of the locality said.

Most of the villagers believe that some of the concerned authorities deliberately did this to get ways to harass and extort money from the Rohingya community, a trader from Maungdaw town said.

A village elder said, “We are like the fish under the knife. In such a situation, we don’t dare to do anything against the military junta as they will harass the Rohingya community and they will give us severe punishment.”

However, police believe that some of the Madrassa students of Sarcombow Madrassa and some of the organized youths set fire to the said video room. The Madrassa is close to the video room, an aide from the Maungdaw police station said.

Police demanded Kyat 900,000 for their release on bail. But, the arrestees did not give the money because they were not guilty and after getting bail, the police will call them to their police station frequently to ask for money.

Some of the Natala villagers fled to the plains from their isolated areas and built some shops such as---betel shops, wine shops, brothel rooms and video rooms along the Maungdaw-Aley Than Kyaw road with the help of Burma’s border security force (Nasaka). Many youths of the Rohingya community were destroyed due to brothels. A youth has to pay Kyat 1,000 to 1,200 per night at a brothel, said a village elder who declined to be named.

The concerned authorities are trying to find new methods so that they can destroy the Rohingya community in northern Arakan economically, educationally, socially and culturally and through religious persecution, said a religious leader from Maungdaw town.

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