Burma Times Correspondent: June 16, 2015
Posters declaring ‘there are no Rohingyas or Bengalis here’ were found on the city walls of Akyab from Sunday.
These declarations were found after nationalists held a rally in the state capital protesting the rescue of migrants from the sea.
Meanwhile groups of Lawaka officials were busy trying to convince Rohingya Muslims in Akyab to apply for the green card, the identity paper given to foreigners who have been naturalised into Burmese citizens.
The Rohingyas claim that they are not foreigners and have been in the country for generations. They are also uncomfortable with the term Bengali used to describe their ethnicity on the green card.
The government claims that Rohingyas are immigrants from Bangladesh and hence the term Bengali.
Although green cards given to other ethnicities can be revoked, the green card for Rohingyas has a special expiry date (see above picture). Under such circumstances, locals say the green card initiative is an eyewash for the international community.
Green card holders enjoy more rights than white card holders, the previous identity papers for the Rohingyas. However the community says green card ‘privileges’ will not apply for them as it did for other ethnicities.
Even then nationalist groups oppose green card privileges for Rohingya Muslims.