Coercion Continues under New Govt in Chin State
23 December 2011: Chin locals in small villages are still suffering from various forms of coercive measures committed by authorities and Burma Army soldiers on patrol, the Chin Human Rights Organization‘s sources disclosed.
The Chin villagers including students have been forced to make financial contribution for government-related funds and to re-start a ‘failed’ jatropha cultivation with their own labour in some parts of Chin State.
Six villages in Falam Township including Haimual, Thipcang, Hnahthial-A, Hnahthial-B, Ngailan and Zawngte were forcibly ordered by Township Administration Department to buy a calender at the price of 1,000 kyats per copy on 7 November 2011.
In the middle of last month, school students from Tlanglo, Tlangpi, Vanzang and Farrawn were coercively demanded money for village tract football matches, with the school principals made responsible for submitting the collection to Township Educational Department.
Burma Army soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion No. 268 forcibly demanded 1,650,000 kyats from a local trader for his 15 cattle at Singai village in Falam Township during his way to Mizoram State of India in late October.
“When the cattle owner couldn’t pay what was demanded, the army captain threatened and detained one of the cowherds. And the captain fixed a deadline for a full payment. The Chin trader was in big trouble,” said an eyewitness.
Another six villages in Falam Township including Haimual, Zawngte, Hniahthial-A, Hnahthial-B, Thipcang and Ngailan have been ordered by force to buy jatropha seeds to restart the cultivation in a ‘failed’ programme initiated in 2003 by the authorities.
Over 91 percent of Chin households were subject to forced labour between 2009 and 2010 by the Burmese authorities, according to a report released in January 2011 by US-based rights group Physicians for Human Rights (PHR).
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang