Are these people really citizens of Burma?

By Aman Ullah

“Every national and every person born of parents, both of whom are indigenous nationals are citizens by birth. Even though they are Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Burma, Mon, Rakhine and Shan, they are not national races if they permanently live in other countries, not in Myanmar. Same national races who have settled in Myanmar after 1824 are not indigenous races. So they are not citizens by birth. The law also states that national races who acquire citizenship of other countries and persons born of parents, both of whom are those foreign citizens cannot become Myanmar citizens,” Section-5, of 1982 Citizenship Law,

There was a legendary love story which albeit ending in a tragic estrangement , between a police officer Diraj Bhattacharya and Ma Thin, daughter of a local Rakhine landlord, during British period.

ma-thein-wall

LOVE SYMBOL PRESERVED: This well at Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar district serves as a remembrance of the legendary love, albeit ending in a tragic estrangement, between then police officer Diraj Bhattacharya and Ma Thin, daughter of a local Rakhine landlord, during the British period.
The story was like this, Bhattacharya, a Jessore born police officer was posted to Teknaf of Cox’s Bazar it’s unlikely he was thrilled. Teknaf at that time was beyond-remote, barely accessible by road. For a young man like Bhattacharya, Teknaf must’ve seemed the end of the Earth. There is an old well in one corner of the yard inside the Teknaf police out post.

In the course of each day local Rakhine women arrived to fetch water. It’s fair to say that in their colourful blouses and thami skirts they were pleasing to a police officer’s eye. Their lively chitchat brought cheerful enthusiasm to resonate as far as the veranda.

Then one day Bhattacharya noticed Ma Thin, the daughter of a wealthy Teknaf landlord. She was particularly attractive, such that there was little for a police officer to do but fall in love.

Fortunately for Bhattacharya, Ma Thin took similar note of the handsome officer, and there developed a habit for Ma Thin to arrive at the well before dawn. Bhattacharya waited on the veranda and the two exchanged adoring glances.

Over time their relationship intensified until a wedding date was set. In the meantime, however, Bhattacharya’s family came to know of the affair and one day he received a letter saying his father was sick and he should return home urgently.

According to his family’s wishes Bhattacharya left for Kolkata, where they then lived. Although he promised to return, Ma Thin was devastated. “

The affair didn’t end well. Bhattacharya never returned to Teknaf. Eventually he left the police service to become a movie star; and he wrote a book called “When I Was a Police Officer,” which includes an account of his love for Ma Thin.

Ma Thin was so heartbroken that she confined herself to bed, refusing all food and water until, prematurely, she died.
Although the tragic estrangement of love story end at that time  the well at Teknaf police station is still preserved as a love symbol.

One of the daughters of that Rakhine landlord family of Teknaf of  the then East Pakistan, was married to a naval officer at Akyab ,named U Kyaw Maung later he became Maj Kyaw Maung and also Chairman of The 2nd Rakhine State People’s Council in 1978 to 1982. Many said that his original name was Saw Mra Aung he was also born in one of the Rakhine landlord family of Nhila (Chawdury Para), he and his elder brother Kyaw Zaw Aung came to Maungdaw from East Pakistan in early 50s for education. They studied at Maungdaw State High School later he joined to the Burma Navy and his brother joined at Post and Telecommunication Department as a wireless operator. Moreover, it is said that, the cancellation of his third time chairmanships was mainly on the ground of his citizenship question.

Later Kyaw Maung’s wife brought a boy from Teknaf who is also a relative of her. Initially, for only domestic help but by the request of the boy’s mother she gave him to attend to the nearby school also. However, the boy with his talent and hardworking able to matriculated from State School of Akyab. Then, as the then tradition of Rakhine community, the boy was sold to another landlord of Maungdaw, named U Poe Tha, as his son-in-law. The boy married Ma Khin Kyi, the eldest daughter of U Poe Tha and continued his higher study at Rangoon with the financial help of his father-in-law. This boy is not other than the MP, Minister, and active Chief Minister of Arakan State Government, U Mya (Mra) Aung, who neither he nor his parents nor anyone of his grandparent were/ are legal citizens of Burma (Mynmar) by any existing law of the soil.

Maung Tha Khin, Ma Ohn Khin and Mg Ohn Maung or Maung Win Maung, came to Maungdaw to attend Burmese school in early 1950s. They were born at Teknaf, the then East- Pakistan and their parents and grandparents were citizens of that Country. After matriculation Ma Ohn Khing joined in education department as a Junior Assistant Teacher (JAT), after graduating Maung Tha Khin joined also in education department as Senior Assistant Teacher (SAT) and their other brother I heard joined at Custom Department. Ma Ohn Khin is a very decent woman and a very good teacher. Mung Tha Khin is also a fine man. But, Although, Munag Tha Khin or U Tha Khin, who neither himself was born in Burma nor his parents and grandparents were born in Burma, he is sitting Upper House MP of Ruling Party USDP. How?

Dr. Aye Maung, Chairman of RNDP/ANP, a sitting MP of RNDP is now trying to stand in Arakan State Parliament with RNP ticket from Mayaung, which is not his birth place or he never ever related to it or he has any relatives or friends there. It is because he has no birth place in Arakan. In 2010 he stood from Akyab now no one accepts him there. He tried to stand from Rathedaung, which he told his birth place but no one accepts there also. Actually, he and his parent migrated to Arakan in 1950s as refugee and they never became citizen according to the law but only fraudulent means. But he is sitting MP and will stand on fort coming election also no bar, no rejection. But, How?

These are not only isolated cases; there are many cases like these. Many Rakhines who were already citizens of Pakistan in accordance with their law, migrated to Arakan after the Independence of Burma. According to Sultan Mahmud, former MP and Health Minister of Burma during U Nu Government, ‘thousands of Rakhines from Barisal, Teknaf, Ramu, Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong Hill Tracts migrated to Arakan annually. They were welcomed by the Burmese authorities with flags and music, issued National Registration Cards….provided with foods, clothes, medicines and household materials. They were settled on Muslim’s lands. They were provided with arable lands, cattle, seed-grains taking from the Muslims. In the most prosperous areas the government has established so-called “Model Villages’ populated by Rakhines and other Buddhists from Bangladesh.

According to section-5, of 1982 Citizenship Law, “every national and every person born of parents, both of whom are indigenous nationals are citizens by birth. Even though they are Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Burma, Mon, Rakhine and Shan, they are not national races if they permanently live in other countries, not in Myanmar. Same national races who have settled in Myanmar after 1824 are not indigenous races. So they are not citizens by birth. The law also states that national races who acquire citizenship of other countries and persons born of parents, both of whom are those foreign citizens cannot become Myanmar citizens”.

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Posted in Articles, Burma, Feature

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