By Maung Shwe / The Stateless Rohingya
Akyab, Arakan State: After forcing more than half a million of Rohingya population to neighbouring Bangladesh through the well-planned campaign of genocide by Myanmar Military, Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy NLD government undertakes a tactic of National Verification Cards to fulfil “Rakhine Action Plan”.
The remaining Rohingya population faces mass-starvation and intimidation as well as forced NVC cards, which deny and remove self-identification as Rohingya.
On October 14, Myanmar Fisheries Department officials accompanied by police personnel have held a meeting with Rohingya fishermen at Thae Chaung village, where the officials insisted that the fishermen must accept NVC cards or face blockage of their boats to take to sea.
A Rohingya under anonymity said worryingly, “They (Myanmar authority) are about to ban us to continue going out to sea to catch fish if we do not accept NVC cards. This is another way of forcing us to take the cards by restricting our only remaining option of livelihood.”
“Whether we die of starvation or not, we will never take NVC cards. Taking and forcing us to take is like killing us alive,” he said.
According to local sources, it is confirmed that the government officials have instructed immigration and police officers at Thae Chaung and Bey Dar Check-points to block all Rohingya going out for fishing until Rohingya accept NVC cards.
Due to the blockage, about 600 boats belong to Rohingya fishermen are grounded at Thae Chaung Ang Bet Dar sea beach. The Rohingya fishermen solely rely on fishing and fishing boats for their daily incomes.
National Verification Cards (NVC) are in effect, issued to foreigners who go through citizenship verification process in Myanmar.
Rohingya who have been living in Rakhine (formerly Arakan Kingdom) for centuries and were once recognised as the citizens of Burma.
The first Prime Minister of Myanmar U Nu has proclaimed in 1954, “the people living in northern Arakan are our national brethren. They are called Rohingyas. They are on the same par in the status of nationality with Kachin, Kayah, Karen, Mon, Rakhine and Shan.”
Several groups of government officials across Rakhine are threatening remaining Rohingya population whose villages were not burned down or partially burned down to accept NVC cards or subjected to actions considered for ‘terrorists’ in Myanmar.
Shwe Zar (Shuda Fara) is among the threatened villages to accept the cards or the villages too would be burned down by Myanmar military and Rakhine extremists. On October 15, a group of officials visited Shwe Zar village where the villagers were intimidated to take the cards.
A villager said, “Any Rohingya who contacted government officials are being forced to accept the cards, even rickshaw pullers, farmers, shopkeepers.”
He said, “Myanmar military and Rakhine extremists are trying to erase the historical truth of Rohingya existence by implementing 1982 citizenship law and now forced NVC cards. It is trick and violation of human rights that the government plays in front of the world to downgrade Rohingya status in Rakhine.”