02 September 2016 -- The Kalay District General Administration Department did not allow residents, who were forced to leave their village of Bualpi in Chin State yesterday, to take shelter at church buildings in a nearby village, Cicai.
The authorities together with police officers today went to Cicai village of Sagaing Region and ordered them to leave the religious premises, where about 140 people were staying after their houses at Bualpi of neighbouring Falam township were bulldozed.
A representative of the Chin Human Rights Organization said: "The Kalay authorities did not come to help them but to drive them out of their temporary shelter. They offered them two options: 1) They can go anywhere they like but if they choose to do so, they will not get any assistance from them 2) They will get support for transportation from the government if they choose to go back to their original villages."
"Most of the victims take their belongings and try to go to stay with relatives and friends. Only a few decide to go back to their villages. The authorities registered details of those willing to go back," the CHRO representative said.
Meanwhile, officials from the Falam District General Administration Department met with Christian pastors and leaders in Falam town today, providing an explanation as to why such action was taken against Bualpi residents.
The department said that there were some residents who had illegally occupied another plot of land in addition to the designated area for families affected by landslides to resettle.
At least six persons who are accused of being responsible for leading in the unauthorised occupation of land and misconduct were arrested, the department said in the presentation.
However, the authorities have been criticised for forcibly driving residents including landslide-hit victims out from their recently resettled site without providing necessary humanitarian assistance.
Pastor Thawng Bik said that the government should designate a resettlement site for victims of the natural disaster, who had lost everything including their houses and land.
"The people, especially the victims, should not have to have suffered like this. The government should have sorted this issue out in the first place. How can you let the victims suffer again just because you were not able to solve the problems? Besides, they are not even allowed to stay for a while at the church buildings. It is hard to believe this is happening under the new government," said Salai Thang, a human rights activist.
The Chin State government said that the action had been taken in accordance with the government's decision and the laws and that a total of 361 illegally built houses had been destroyed.
It said that those residents pretending to be victims of the natural disaster and resettling in the area without official permission had been given advance warning since the month before.
However, the authorities place a restriction on access to the Bualpi area after all the residents including landslide-victims were forcibly evicted yesterday.#