Tuesday, 28 February 2017

By Fayas Ahmed

On February 11, 2015, President Thein Sein announced that all temporary Registration Certificates (TRCs) known as ‘white cards’ would expire on March 31, and had to be returned to the authorities by 31st May. 

White card returned receipt front side

As a result, Rohingya villagers in northern Arakan are compelled to surrender their “white cards” to the concerned authorities. Since Wednesday, Rohingya villagers are returning their white cards to the authorities concerned, but many refuse to give up their only remaining form of official identification.
 
Some villagers gave directly to the immigration officers, and some people gave it to village Administration officers. Those give up their white cards are given a ‘receipt’ to prove that they had a TRC card and can enter the citizenship verification process that will come in June. It is learnt that some of the village Admin officers in Maungdaw Township demanded money from villagers for receipts. The number two block of Maungdaw municipal area, the block administration officer, Yousuf forcefully demanding money from the villagers for white card returning receipt. So, the villagers are going to the Immigration office to handover the white card and taking the receipt from the office directly.
 

White card returned receipt  back side


Rohingya people are worried about what they will happen next after returning their white cards. The authorities are trying to repeal oppressive 1982 Citizenship Law, which unlawfully deprives Rohingyas of their natural citizenship rights on ground of their ethnicity and religion.
 
Ninety percent Rohingyas will not be able to meet the citizenship requirements of discriminatory 1982 citizenship law. The intention of the Burmese government is to place all the Rohingyas into giant concentration camps and then seek countries for them to be deported to.
 
The response from the international community to this further attack or discrimination on the rights of Rohingyas was almost silence.
 
There was so-called Nasaka (Burma border security force) in Arakan since 1992 to detect illegal immigrations. It is 23 years now, no single Bangladeshi is heard to have arrested by the Nasaka and present Burma’s Border Guard Police (BGP), but the government accuses that Rohingyas are the illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
 
According to under Residence Registration Rule of 1951, Burmes government first time issued NRC cards to the Rohingya community in Maungdaw Township. So, the accusation today by the government and Rakhine leaders that Rohingyas had been got NRCs cards by means of fraud and bribe is an act of ulterior motive and baseless. 
 
By force, issuing the so-called white cards or TRCs to the Rohingyas means to degrade Rohingya in their nationality status and pushing Rohingyas to their extinction and making Arakan an exclusively Rakhine region.
 
Burmese government had issued TRCs to all Rohingyas including the NRC holder after seizing of their original NRC cards. The local authorities compelled the Rohingya people to surrender their NRC cards on issuance of TRC cards. It also assured that TRCs are first step toward Citizenship. But, Burmese government never lives up to their words. It plays like cat and mouse games with Rohingya community by using their strength against the armed less people.
 
 Burmese government has never been sincere towards Rohingyas, Their ulterior motive is to annihilate Rohingya from Arakan once and for all.
 
Even before British occupation, Arakan was fall of Muslim population.  So, this bonafied Muslim population should not be mixed up with so-called immigrants from India during the British period. These Indians were officially registered as foreigners, and seasonal labors who used to come from Chittagong usually returned when the season is over.
 
We have many historical documents that Rohingyas are the citizenship of Burma.

We got the rights to elect and to be elected in all levels of parliament administrative institutions including parliament. We had parliamentarians, parliament secretaries’ even ministerial posts.
 
After nearly 200 years (1823-1982), how can the Rohingyas be foreigners of degraded Citizenship and we have to apply citizenship according to 1982 citizenship black law?