Narinjara news                       



MILITARY CONFISCATION OF LAND LEAVES VILLAGERS IN A PITIABLE STATE IN WESTERN MYANMAR

Sittwe, 15
th December 01:  The residents of two villages under Kyauktaw township in Rakhine State of Myanmar whose landed property were confiscated by the Myanmar army last year have not yet been given any compensation, according to our correspondent from Sittwe, capital of the western state.
The Light Battalion 539, established at Tharak-ouk village under Kyauktaw township in 1995, was relocated to a new site 20 miles south-west of Kyauktaw, at Pain-fe-chhaung village in 2000.  During the relocation process, the military fenced with barbed-wire all the landed property owned by the residents of the two villages of Kan-jauk and Pain-fe-chhaung, for  establishing a new battalion headquarters there.  More than twenty fruit orchards of the villagers were also confiscated in the process besides more than two hundred acres of rice paddy where the villagers also used to grow various vegetables and pulses during the dry season.  Besides this the military confiscated more than fifty acres of fallow land used as pasture for the cattle in the village.
 During the monsoons this year, the battalion forces compelled the villagers to plough the confiscated lands with the help of the cattle owned by the villagers, grow rice and do agriculture by forced labour, the harvest of which was reserved for the use by the family members of the battalion soldiers.   At present the SPDC forces are engaging the villagers to harvest the paddy in those confiscated lands.
The villagers whose landed property was confiscated were left with not a single acre of paddy field where to grow rice for themselves.  Since the owners of the confiscated fruit orchards were not used to growing paddies, they were rendered penniless and helpless as a result of the wholesale confiscation of property.  The cattle, too have now to be herded to distant places for pasture.
Our correspondent added that, there are fifty-four battalions of Myanmar forces all over Rakhine State which were set up in lands confiscated from the Rakhine peoples since the junta came to power in 1988 in the western part of Myanmar that left residents of more than one hundred villages landless.  In all the instances, the SPDC junta never bothered either to compensate for the property the civilians lost or resettle them elsewhere by the help of the public fund. As a result a good number of these villagers, especially the younger generation, were forced to move to far-off places in Burma proper or cross the border illegally to Thailand for earning their livelihood.  This year, there has been a silent famine among the affected villagers who have been rendered out of work and who lost their source of income due to the confiscation of land, our correspondent concluded quoting many of the villagers from Kyauktaw township.  #