Report of the sentiments of the Rakhine Tai-Yin-Tha (Children of the soil, indigenous people) in Maungdaw district

Rakhine National Defence and Protection Organisation. October 9 1988. Maungdaw. 

30 page paper: Report of the sentiments of the Rakhine Tai-Yin-Tha (Children of the soil, indigenous people) in Maungdaw district. 

Addressed to: 

  • Senior General Saw Maung, Chairman of SLORC
  • Chair of Election Committee
  • Attorney General
  • Chief Justice
  • Home and Religious Affairs Minister
  • NLD Chairman (ex-Brigadier and 2nd in command under General Ne Win immediately after the coup in 1962, Aung Gyi, was the first Chairman of the NLD).

Lots of other political parties of the time. 

P19 and 20. 

Summary: 

Records instances where U Nu government recognised the Rohingya. Rakhines blame them for claiming Rohingya were part of the Tai-Yin-Tha (children of the soil, indigenous ethnic groups of Myanmar) 

The Ne Win and Sein Lwin government refused to recognise them – instead called the Bengali descendants. 

At the time of the 1982 citizenship act, there were protests by Rohingya. 

In 1951, there was a split between those who wanted to call themselves Rohingya and those who wanted to call themselves Arakan Muslims. 

At the time of the 1988 uprising, Rohingya attacked Rakhine villages. (details inconsistent). 

Mentions Dr Tun Aung as talking about protests to promote democratic rights of the Rohingya. Also mentions current Rohingya MP Shwe Maung as a Kalar who encouraged people to call themselves Rohingya. 

P24. 

During the census of 1983, there were protests by the Rohingya about being forced to register as Rohingya. According to this document in 85 wards and 90 villages, immigration officials were forced to change the word Bengali into Rohingya on the registration documents. 

P24 “Based on the facts presented above regarding Maungdaw and Chittagonian Bengalis, all of them came only around 1852. Therefore we can say they have been here only about 100 years. If you compare one historical epoch, 100 years is nothing. Therefore it is unconscionable and unsuitable that they be given equal ethnic status as those that have been here before recorded history. Therefore we heartily welcome the 1982 citizenship act, primarily because the act discriminates against those who came later.” (paragraph 3 of the citizenship act). 

P 25 “There are no Rakhine Muslim. If someone says he is a Rakhine Muslim, he is lying out of the motive to enjoy ethnic equality with Tai-Yin-Tha.” 

The Muslim Justice Minister Rashid from the 1950s was blamed with issuing IDs to Muslims in 1958-9. 

Rohingyas are accused of campaigning for a separate Muslim province with the help of foreign supporters. 

Recommendations/Demands (these are direct quotes but only of important bits) 

a) 1982 citizenship act and this organisation’s analysis. 
b) Legalised discrimination and limitation of their rights 

“As long as they (the Bengalis) are allowed to live legally here, they will pursue their grand strategic goal of building the bridge between Bangladesh and Malaysia via Burma and Thailand, and the two countries (Burma and Thailand) will be Islamasized. So therefore we need to prevent Burma from becoming an Islamic State through the adoption of systematic projects and campaigns” 

10 solutions: 

1) Identify pure Tai-Yin-Tha to be given priority in respect to citizenship 
2) If they are not pure citizens there ought to be different classifications of citizenship. 
3) Those who are not full citizens should have their movements limited in accordance with the 1868 Foreigners Act. 
4) All illegal buildings on current farmlands need to be demolished. The private property act can be used for this purpose. 
5) No one who is not a full-blooded citizen should be allowed immovable property 
6) Limit the access and opportunities for study and professional subjects and higher education. 
7) Construction permits for mosques and teaching of Arabic language should be limited. 
8) Either monogamy or population control needs to be adopted. 
9) Other necessary restrictions and limits ought to be adopted as pre-emptive controls. 
10) Buthidaung and Maungdaw should be administered separately (from the rest of Rakhine State) and there should be different laws to support this. 

The above mentioned recommendations will be tantamount to the partial violation of human right. However for the Tai-Yin-Tha and citizens full human rights ought to be guaranteed and democratic opportunities provided. Even in democratic rights we should not be generous. We must bring in new laws to limit these rights. 

These Bengalis are late comers therefore there needs to be different categories of citizens – guest citizens, questionable citizens, pending citizens and naturalised citizens. 

These are the realities and sentiments of the Rakhine citizens. If the state is unable to meet these requests/demands the western gate of Burma will be broken and the fate of Maungdaw will fall into the hands of the Bengalis and the danger of Bengalis entering into Burma proper will increase.


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