Thursday, 28 May 2020

Maungdaw, Arakan State: The Deputy Home Minister Brigadier General Pone Swe has ordered concerned authorities to release the arrested Myanmar Muslim Council (MMC) members of Maungdaw town who were arrested on March 30 and on April 1, 2008. The minister gave the order when he was visiting Arakan State along with other higher officials on April 20 for campaigning for the referendum.


According to sources, 13-members were arrested and were detained in the police station. However, Noor Kobir (40), younger brother of late Master Yunus and the car driver of the UNHCR were released on April 13.

 

According to local people, the arrested persons are pro-government, so they believe that the arrest had to with the ensuing constitutional referendum.

 

By arresting them before the referendum, people would panic and would not dare cast the 'No' vote, a village elder said. 

 

The minister met several members of rural administrative councils in the township at the town hall on April 20, and explained about the constitutional referendum and its significance to the future of Burma.


To drum up support for the draft constitution at the referendum some of the other minister level officials from Naypyidaw visited Arakan State to mobilise people to cast "yes" votes, according to a source close to the police. 


The deputy minister also visited the towns of Kyauktaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung to campaign for the referendum.

 

According to local villagers, people are being threatened by concerned authorities not to cast the "No" vote in forthcoming referendum. If the people do not cast the "yes" vote, people will face acute difficulties.

 

The authorities are trying all possible means to ensure support for the referendum. The draft constitution which was only released on April 9 had not been widely distributed among the people, said a politician in Arakan who declined to be named.

 

"We would like to encourage all voters to go to the polling booths and to cast the "No" vote   without fear, said a village elder.

 

"Many complain that the military junta's policy has denied fair access to jobs, education marriage, freedom of movement and housing. We are discriminated by the Burmese ruling military junta so why should we vote for a government that treats us not as" citizens of equal rights" but as a guest who simply enjoys the goodwill of his/her hosts, "said a retired senior school teacher in Arakan.