HLEGU—Early on the morning of February 4, officials used force to remove the residents of Thamee Kalay Village in Sarbu Down Village tract, Hlegu Township, saying the villagers were living on the land of military forces. The government used a work force of more than 1,000 to destroy the village, which contained more than 150 households with more than 500 people.
People of all ages, including children and the elderly, had to abandon their homes without any chance of an appeal. Since then they have faced many difficulties in living, from a lack of sufficient food resources to serious physical and mental health challenges. After becoming instant refugees in just one day, many are experiencing nightmares.
National League for Democracy MP Phyo Min Thein (Hlegu Township), concerning the forced removal of the villagers, said that Thamee Kalay village was only created last year and thus was never an issue before that. So, public debate has erupted over whether it really existed or not.
Land Grabbing is serious problem in Burma. Until now, people are suffering from social injustice. The government must help if someone is legally homeless depending on the eligibility of the person. Land grabbing or Land seizures by the military without providing temporary shelter is social injustice and also degrading the people.
The authorities have giving warning to the villagers of Thamee Kalay in Hlegu Township, Yangon Region, who now sheltering at the monastery in Bago Region to leave the region.
They (the villagers) are said to be living on the land owned by the armed forces and their houses were destroyed on 4 February. The villagers are now taking shelter at the Aung Theidi monastery in Bago Region.
“We are forced to move from our houses and so we are now staying at the monastery. But yesterday morning (on 6 February), ward administrative authority came here and give us notice for leaving. We have children attending schools and as the final exam is very near, we asked permission to stay at the monastery until the exam is over. They said they will report the matter to the above. We came here not to invade but our houses at the former places have been destroyed. We have nowhere to go. So, we are sheltering at the monastery,” said Ko Baik Thar on 7 February.
“On 6 February morning, Alai Ni village administrator came here. Together with him, he brought a letter from township administrative officer. The letter expressed that I have to send these homeless people to their original place. What I replied was these people have no home and they are homeless refugees sheltering here. I couldn’t say no to them. If they want to do according to the law, do what they want. I’ll do what what I should do,” said Bhadanta Agga Dhammaka, residing monk of Aung Theidi monastery.
“In the evening, the deputy township administrator of Bago Region himself came to us. And he made a list on those sheltering here, school children and told us not to build houses for these refugees. But, he also saw the present situation that there were no buildings. What he said was he came here according to the superior’s order. Till now, no forced moving taking place, the monk added.
At present, a total of 149 households of about 500 people are staying there under sub-standard conditions and food shortages.
According to the 2008 Constitution, at the Chapter (8) of citizen, rights for the citizens and duties- Act-355 mentioned that every citizen of Myanmar has the right to live wherever he desires in Myanmar to reside according to law.
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