Burma Times Correspondent: July 07, 2015
Lawaka ordered Rohingya community elders from the surrounding villages to gather in the town of Mrauk U on Monday.
In the gathering, Lawaka told the Rohingyas to accept the ‘card’ or ‘face severe consequences’.
At first, the Lawaka officials spoke in a soft tone saying the government was pained by the sufferings of the Arakanese Muslims. They also recognised these sufferings were caused by their statelessness.
So to alleviate their sufferings, the government was issuing an id card to grant them citizenship.
In response, the audience asked Lawaka officials if the card mentioned it was for Rohingyas. When the Lawaka replied in negative, one of the Rohingyas said, “if it does not mention Rohingyas, then surely the government did not issue it for us. If you are looking for Bengalis, why did you call us to this meeting?” He was cheered by other Rohingyas but the Lawaka men lost their temper and launched into a long tirade cursing the Rohingyas.
“If you don’t accept this card willingly, we will do something that will make you accept this card,” said one of the Lawaka men.
Although the details of the card were not mentioned, it is thought the Lawaka officials were talking about the green card. The green card is given to foreign citizens naturalised as Burmese citizens. Rohingyas have to accept the green card as Bengalis.
The green card for Rohingyas expires in two years.
Rohingyas say they are neither Bengalis nor foreigners.