Political parties decry AA’s claims to Chin territory
05 July 2016 — Chin political parties are condemning the Arakan Army for claiming Paletwa Township, a southern part of Burma’s Chin State, as part of Arakan State.
The Chin National Democratic Party issued a statement yesterday, calling on the AA to stop spreading its propaganda and to give an official explanation of its territorial claims.
CNDP General Secretary Salai Ceu Bik Thawng questioned: “We really want to know why this claim has been made: is it because they would like to establish a military base in the Chin township or is it actually part of their policy.”
“The AA leaders should make a clear clarification to the public. Necessary action must be taken only after they make their position on the issue clear,” said Salai Ceu Bik Thawng.
In February this year, 16 Chin organizations including the Chin League for Democracy, Chin Progressive Party, Khumi (Khami) National Party and Ethnic Nationality Development Party reiterated the fact that the township of Paletwa is an inharent part of Chin State.
The group said that the township has been incorporated into the Chin territory in the 1947, 1974 and 2008 constitutions and is part of their ancestral land.
However, the successive authorities have put the least developed township of Burma’s western State under the administration of different departments of the Arakan State and Magwe Division governments.
Salai Ceu Bik Thawng said: “The main reason why it has not been under the direct control of the Chin State government in Hakha is owing to difficult accessibility to and remoteness of the region. And this should not be the basis of the claim by the AA.”
Ai Htun, of the Khumi Youth Association, said that what the AA had claimed was groundless and completely mistaken, stressing that their activity was rather seen as expansionist movement.
Since March last year, clashes between the AA and the Burma Army have taken place in the area, driving hundreds of villagers from their native places into displacement situation. The AA is yet to sign a ceasefire deal with the Burmese government.
Despite demand from the Chin public for constructing a Paletwa-Matupi road that will link the northern and southern parts of Chin State, the authorities have not taken enough action to make the accessibility possible.
In response to a question raised regarding the road construction, the previous government of Chin State led by the Union Solidarity and Development Party said that they had been concerned about possible mass migration from Arakan State to Chin State.#