Narinjara News


Dhaka, May 24, 2005


Arakanese people from border area desert their homes after prohibition of hill-side cultivation 



A number of Arakanese people have deserted their homes since Burmese authorities have banned hill-side cultivation in the northern border areas close to Bangladesh, said an Arakanese couple who have recently relocated to Bangladesh.


They declined to estimate of the number of Arakanese people who have recently deserted their homes.


The couple said “Its very difficult to estimate the number of Arakanese people who have relocated, but we could say that there are a number of families who were engaged in hill-side cultivation that have since deserted their homes.”


According to local sources, a number of families are moving to the interior of Arakan state, including Kyauk Taw Township, but some other families are moving to Bangladesh in order to continue hill-side cultivation on the other side of the border.


Among those deserting the state, a number are from the Arakanese tribal groups of Mro, Mru and Khami.  Currently they are sheltering in some villages of Bangladesh’s Chittagong hill tract.


“We do not have any chance to work in Arakan because we do not know how to do anything else. We therefore came to Bangladesh to continue our cultivation of hill-side agriculture.” U Mong Tong, a Mro tribal leader said in Tansit market, a border town of Bandaban district of Bangladesh.


It was also learnt that there are other reasons the people are entering Bangladeshi territory, one is food scarcity along the Burmese side of the border, and another is lack of employment opportunities in the area.


“Yes, the price of commodities including rice has been going up recently. For that reason we came to Bangladesh to survive. Because we can get any job in Bangladesh easily”, said Ko Aukng Kyaw, who is living in Modock village, upper sungu river, opposite Buthidaung in Burma.


Arakanese people from the area have been roaming along the Bangladesh­Burma border since Burmese authorities have banned the cultivation of hill side agriculture in northern Arakan state over the last two years.#



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