Narinjara news


(1) Forced labour in road repair

(2) A Rahhine musician suffers


Maungdaw, 11
th December 01: The State Law and Order Restoration Council junta of Myanmar have once again adopted forced labour in road repair, harvest of rice in the military-owned rice paddies, and repair of military barracks and outposts as the dry winter is about to set in Rakhine State, the western part of Myanmar, according to our correspondent from Maungdaw, the border town on the Naf river.
The Maungdaw Taungbro Aung-cheik-prung road, which was badly damaged because of the monsoons was repaired using forced labour from Aung-cheik-prung village. The 220 villagers who were forced to work for nearly one month starting from the last week of October, 2001, in the road were given 226 bags of rice as wages. Though the quota of rice was far below the actual wages for the amount of work, the villagers had no other alternative since work was scarce and there were reports of famine in many parts of Rakhine State, including Maungdaw township. The recent reports of many Muslims in the border areas fleeing the country may also have link to the scarcity of food in Rakhine State. #


Sittwe, 11
th December 01: A noted drummer and head of a Rakhine Cultural Troupe, Sandra Tee-wun (Sandra Orchestra), have been taken very ill as he suffers from the after-effects of his imprisonment in Sittwe, according to our correspondent from Sittwe.
Kyaw Zan Maung from Shwebra quarter of Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State was the headmaster of a government primary school and a noted musician who plays the Rakhine traditional drum.
During the visit in 1996 of Khin Nyunt, the secretary one of SPDC junta, to Sittwe, he was ordered to play the tune of traditional Rakhine welcome, but he played the tune of the traditional funeral procession. When Khin Nyunt was informed about the matter, he got furious and ordered the Military Intelligence to take immediate action. He was instantly arrested and charged with sedition, and sentenced for nine months in prison. When the intelligence made investigations he was found not to be involved in any political activities, for which his sentence was considered to be light. But all the physical tortures he had to suffer during the interrogations rendered him vulnerable to long-term illness, the report said. Among the artists who were plucky enough to defy the military junta, he ranks high with the other Burmese artists like Jagana, U Lu Zaw, and Pa Pa Lay. But Kyaw Zan Maung has never been brought to the spotlight as other artist-intellectuals, our correspondent added. He has been living in utter poverty since his release from the prison as he had lost his job as the headmaster of a government primary school. #

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Mrat Kyaw and Mg Seing Phrue
Narinjara news