Thursday, 28 May 2020

Maungdaw, Arakan State: The Deputy Home Minister Brig-General Phone Swe was on a three-day visit to northern Arakan on February 20 accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Trade and Commerce.
On February 20, a meeting was held in Thri Mangala Hall of Maungdaw Town with all the Village Peace and Development Council members of Maungdaw Township. They were and asked to mobilise some local people who could talk at the meeting.

On February 21, at about 11 am, the Deputy Minister went to Powet Chaung and Bawli Bazaar villages in Maungdaw Township and held meetings separately summoning VPDC members including some local elders. The minister asked the villagers about the price of essential commodities in local markets.

The Deputy Minister was to give Kyat 100,000 to every village that participated in the meeting. Villagers from 14 villages participated in the meeting but only seven villages got the money

On February 22, at about 10 am, the Deputy Minister went to Taungbro from Maung Daw in a speed boat and checked the hospital, the border friendship gate, and surveyed the Bangladesh-Burma friendship Road and left for Maungdaw at about 2:30 pm.

In the evening, the Deputy Minister also went to Aleythankyaw village, Maungdaw south and held a meeting with villagers and VPDC members. At the meeting the minister asked the participants if they had any questions. So, one of the participants said “We have been facing restriction of movement for a long time. Please remove it”. The Minister told them that the matter will be looked into in the future. The minister added “You are Bengali people, we recognize you as Bengalis. You have been living here before the British period.”

In every meeting the minister asked all the VPDC Chairmen to provide information about the villages. The village Chairmen had to provide information about the population in every village, family lists, number of houses, acres of paddy fields, acres of pea, sunflower, ground nut, onion, garlic, summer paddy growing areas, acres of shrimp project, number of voters including male and female, votes of supporters, protests by voters and rejected votes of the referendum in May 2008.