Monday, September 11, 2006

Forced relocation and land grabbing in central Burma

The iniquitous behaviour of the Burmese military continues. Now they are trying to grab land that does not belong to them... and to force the relocation of those who are the legitimate landowners.

Do they have no conscience at all?

Forced relocation and land grabbing in central Burma (Democratic Voice of Burma)
The authorities of Meikhtila Township in central Burma and regional military officers have ordered local residents of 200 households to move their homes within 21 days from 25 September, on the pain of being prosecuted for encroaching on army-owned lands.

The order was issued on 25 August with the signature of Khin Maung Soe, the township chief administrator, and it was the second time the ‘notice letter’ was issued, a local resident told DVB.

“The ward authority members came to give us that letter, but people from the ward couldn’t accept it. Last time, we accepted it. This time, we told them that we could not accept their letter and sent them back.”

He added that the first notice letter only told residents to move out but they are very incensed by the second as it includes the threats of forced relocation and prosecution. Residents have decided to stay put and local Buddhist monks volunteered to protect them and intercede for them.

The army claims that the land belongs to nearby army-owned textile factory and accused the residents of being squatters. The residents insisted that their land doesn’t belong to the army as they can prove they bought the land with contracts long before the army built the factory.

A similar attempt of land grabbing was made by an army officer some years ago at the same place, but he was told to give up his claim by his superiors after some investigations.

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