Narinjara news


Maungdaw, May 17:
A Burmese junta official on 23rd April acknowledged the presence of forced labour in the remote areas of Arakan State to a UNHCR official in Maungdaw, a township in the western state of Burma. But he denied the bribe required for getting permission to marry eligible couples in the locality.

The junta official, Major Thein Tun who is commander of the Aungthabray Nasaka Area One Headquarter close to the Bangladesh border, told Mr Narasimha Rao, an official from the Maungdaw UNHCR that forced labour is still practised by the Burmese army in remote areas where there is no metalled roads but each of the labourers is paid kyat one hundred a day according to the official rate. The unofficial rate of a daily labourer, however is between five hundred and seven hundred kyat a day in the neighbourhood. The price of a kilo of the lowest quality rice is kyat 140. Besides, Burma has repeatedly been denying the presence of forced labour in the country in the international seminars and conferences.

To a question of ‘permission’ to marry a girl and the money required to bribe the army personnel for the ‘permission’ the commander replied that, there is no scope for either ‘bribing’ any person or forcing anyone to marry persons of not one’s choice.

He added that, any adult person who is eighteen years of age can ‘get a permission’ to marry the person of their choice from the military headquarters. No one ever needs to pay money for the permission. The permission, according to him, is necessary to ensure the eligible age of the candidates to marry.

He said that the army only requires to ask the persons to be married for their consent and ‘the eligible age to marry which is eighteen minimum.'

A Village Peace and Development Chairman in the locality, however, told that people have to pay at least kyat ten thousand for getting any permission for marriage from the local military authority.

A Muslim newly wed couple from Aungbala quarter of Maungdaw told that they had to bribe kyat 30,000 to an MI 18 official a few weeks ago for ‘getting permission’ to tie the knot. #