Friday, 05 June 2020

Maungdaw, Arakan State: The Arakanese Rohingya community celebrated Eid-ul-Azha (Qurbani Festival) peacefully in Arakan State on November 28 without any obstacle, but the authorities collected heavy toll for sacrificial cattle in Maungdaw Township, said an elder of Maungdaw town on condition of anonymity.  

To get permission for sacrificial cattle in Maungdaw Township, the Arakanese Rohingya people had submitted an application to the authorities where they had to pay Kyat 2,000 to 3,500 to the Township Peace and Development Council (TPDC). But, rates differed from Nasaka, Burma’s border security force, sector to another sector, depending on its Commander. Villagers also had to pay Kyat 1,000 to Nasaka and Kyat 500 to the Village Peace and Development Council (VPDC) for each cow. The money was collected through the VPDC members on the orders of the TPDC Chairman of Maungdaw Township, said a local villager. 

However, in southern Maungdaw Town, the VPDC collected Kyat 2,500 per sacrificial head of cattle by the order of the TPDC Chairman, said a local trade. 

The authorities permitted only one cattle market at Shikdar Para (Myoma Kayan Dan) village of Maungdaw Township, so the villagers of Maungdaw south and north had to come to this market to buy sacrificial cattle. As a result, villagers faced many difficulties buying from this market as the place is very far from Maungdaw south and north. Two more markets, one for Maungdaw south, another for Maungdaw north ought to have been allowed. It was unnecessary harassment to the Rohingya villagers and was aimed to collect more toll, said a businessman of Maungdaw town preferring not to be named. 

To transport cattle to Maungdaw south after buying cattle from the market, villagers had to cross three Nasaka check-posts on the Aley Than Kyaw- Maungdaw road. The Nasaka check-posts collected Kyat 1,000 to 15,000 per head while the purchaser crossed the check-posts with their cattle. There are three Nasaka check-posts ---Du Chay Ra Dan, Zaw Matted and Pandaw Pyin--- along the road. The Nasaka collected Kyat 1,000 each from the check-posts of Du Chay Ra Dan and Pandaw Pyin and Kyat 15,000 at the Zaw Matted check-post. Accordingly, the purchaser had to spend at least Kyat 22,000 per head only as toll excluding tax, said a local trader on condition of anonymity.  

Arakanese Rohingya people also had to give 0.5 Viss to one Viss of beef from each sacrificial cattle to the Nasaka camp. (One Viss = 1.75kg). Nasaka is always extorting money from the Arakanese Rohingya people and thinking of ways to harass them. Arakanese Rohingya people are a source of earning for the authorities, said another local villager from Maungdaw south.

Arakanese Rohingya people had to spend a lot of money for sacrificial cattle on account of Nasaka’s arbitrary collection of toll.     

Besides, the buyer of the cattle had to pay Kyat 5% tax to the auctioneer and the skin of the sacrificial cattle were also taken away by the auctioneers, said another businessman from Maungdaw town.

The Qurbani doer, who gave sacrificial cattle from his cattle farm, had to reduce the number from his cattle list book or cattle/commodities possession book within three days. If anyone does not comply with the order, he will be fined Kyat 25,000. To reduce the number in the list from the cattle list book, he/she has to pay Kyat 5,000 per head, said a school teacher.

The price of the sacrificial cattle was between Kyat 300,000 to 800,000 each in the market.  There are about 107 villages in Maungdaw Township and at least 50 to 60 cattle were sacrificed for Qurbani. So the authorities got a lot of money.