Burma Times Correspondent: July 10, 2015
A tabbe in Jula para, Pathor Keela has convinced many locals to apply for the green card. The green card is given to foreigners who have been naturalised as Burmese citizens. The tabbe known as Falashi has requested other Rohingyas to participate in the green card process.
Lawaka officials from Akyab arrived in the village on Tuesday to start the formalities. Many locals however opposed Falashi’s initiatives.
The concept of green card is opposed by Rohingyas because they feel that they are an ethnic race of the country. The main point of contention is green card applicants must identify themselves as Bengalis. The government and many in Burma say that Rohingyas are migrants from Bangladesh and the term Rohingya does not exist.
In Maungdaw, Lawaka officials have been telling Rohingyas that green cards will be given on a temporary basis. After two years, depending on good behaviour a more permanent arrangement will be made.
Altogether, the green card initiatives have confused Rohingyas. On one hand Rohingyas are adamant not to identify themselves as Bengalis but the government imprisons and often tortures those who insist they are Rohingyas.
Many fear that once the Rohingyas say they are Bengalis, their long term stay in Arakan will be impossible.
The green card offers more facilities than the white cards that expired in May.