Burma Times Correspondent: September 01, 2015
Parliamentarian Shwe Maung has arrived in Akyab city for appealing against the government ban on his candidacy in the upcoming general elections.
Shwe Maung was informed he was not fit to stand for elections as his parents were not Burmese citizens during the country’s independence in 1948.
The prominent Rohingya leader disputes this claim and says he has the documents to prove it. He is currently in Akyab with these documents that lays validity to his claims that his parents were Burmese citizens in 1948.
Shwe Maung’s father was a policeman in independent Burma.
Many nationalists claim that Rohingyas are Bengalis who mostly settled in Burma during the 1950s, an allegation fiercely contested by the Rohingyas and most independent analysts.
Meanwhile Shwe Maung toured some of the Akyab IDP camps where he expressed shock and dismay at the deteriorating living conditions of Aung Mingalar.
The ghetto inside Akyab city is the last Muslim quarter left standing in the state capital after all other Muslim neighbourhoods were burned and cleansed by mobs in 2012. Nowadays, all Muslims are herded in this overcrowded quarter where living conditions have been described as the worst in the world.
There are no Rohingyas left in the main parts of the city where once Rakhines only slightly outnumbered the Muslim community.
Locals told Shwe Maung that if he as one of the last Rohingya national leader left inside the country is disqualified, the last hopes for the beleaguered community might well be over.
Shwe Maung has quit from the ruling USDP and chosen to run as an independent candidate. In 2010, the USDP chose to balance the Rakhine vote for regional parties with an overture with Rohingya Muslim leaders. The brief honeymoon lasted only so long before the military backed government sided with Buddhist nationalists during the riots of 2012.
The military and the government has traditionally despised the Rohigyas in any case.
This year, Rohingya Muslims have also been disfranchised and will not be voting in the elections.
All this are signs of the growing tide of aggressive Islamophobia in the country, according to observers.