Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cemetery seized by TPDC in Maungdaw

Maungdaw, Arakan State (KPN): The Township Peace and Development Council, (TPDC) chairman of Maungdaw Township has seized a Rohingya Muslim cemetery in the Township for use though there are many vacant places for the authorities to set up camps or other buildings, said a local elder on condition of anonymity.

On July 1, the Maungdaw TPDC Chairman along with other officers went to Basara (Thawin Chaung) village in Maungdaw Township and ordered the villagers not to bury their dead in the cemetery. If anyone did not comply with the order, he or she would be fined Kyat 50,000.

The authorities destroyed some Kobors (file of the soil of bodies in the cemetery) and the fence of the cemetery which was established a long time ago near the village. Recently, a Nasaka outpost was set up close to the cemetery on the north.

The villagers were asked to bury new bodies at the bottom of a mountain on the eastern side of the village, a mile away.

Villagers do not know why the authorities seized the ancient cemetery of the villagers, although vacant places are available, said a local trader requesting not to be named.

A village trader said, “There are many vacant lands to build government buildings. Why did they have to seize the cemetery of the Muslims? What are the reasons? Is there any country in the world which seizes cemeteries?”

In 2008, the authorities also had seized the cemeteries in Baggona and Gora Khali villages of Maungdaw Township.

Earlier, in Buthidaung Township, the authorities seized Buthidaung Town cemetery, Taung Bazaar cemetery, the Thiganet cemetery though there were many places to construct government buildings, said a local elder from Buthidaung Township.

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