Burma Times Correspondent: September 10, 2015
Police along with village administration and government collaborators has stepped up operations in the Haan dong area of Buthidaung. Many Rohingyas have been forced to pay ransom money after being implicated with trumped up charges.
Friends of Md Taker say he was accused of holding meeting with RSO militants and forced to pay 450,000 kyats. There is no militant presence in Buthidaung and in fact anywhere in Arakan state and Taker has never associated with any of them, say sources. A few others have been implicated with similar charges and forced to pay huge fines.
Flood victims have also been targeted and made to pay fines on simple charges. Hafiz Ahmed for example was made to pay 150,000 kyats for making repairs to his home. The going rate for making home repairs is generally at 80,000 kyats.
“I was repairing the house when the police came and said I would be arrested. They said I was not allowed to make repairs to my home as I was a foreigner in this land,” says Hamid Hossain, repeating a common allegation from the authorities that Rohingyas are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and don’t enjoy rights to this land. He was forced to pay 80,000 kyats.
Many people in the area have been forced to make this payment. Rohingyas are not allowed to make repairs to their homes without prior permission from authorities. But locals say that the floods and cyclone have destroyed their homes and it is not possible to live in them without making extensive repairs.
Locals also say home repairs cost a lot of money and they are at pains to afford the capital. If after that they are forced to pay fines to the authorities, it a burden that leaves many of them close to bankruptcy.
The drive against Rohingyas is led by a police official So Naing and a Rakhine headman Aung Chi. Three tabbes Anwar Sadek, Solim Ullah and Md Amin provide the intelligence on ground.