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Arakanese Villagers Are Being Forced to Aid in the Construction of the Gas Pipeline Between Burma and India

From Narinjara News, Bangladesh
August 1, 2005
link to this article.

Arakanese villagers, 500 in total, from the northern parts of Arakan state, have been forced to work on clearing a path for the construction of a gas pipeline between Burma and India.

The villages being forced to partake in the labor are from the northern regions of Kyauk Taw Township and the southern regions of Palatwa, according to local sources.

Over 30 villages in the Kyauk Taw Township fell victims to the Construction of the Gas Pipeline. Those included are Shwe Pray Tha, Tha See Roa, Kyauk Guu Zuu, Thone Soang Zuu, Myauk Taung, A Laee Kyan, Kyauk Tan, Watt Mine, Tha Htae Khaung, Paut Taw, Minn Tha Taung, Shwe Hlaing Roa, Sein Chrong, Late Ma, Kroan Ma, Kha Maung, Mala Thit, Sinn Owaoo Khaung, Yarla Roa, Sai Aung Roa, Sonn Kaing, Pada Chait, Paut Taw Phalong, Mahamuni, Thara Tapon, Kyaukta Lone, Thein Tan, Shwe Ta Hlay, Roa Ma Prin, Sien Kraone, Late Ma Roa and War Ma Kya.

The villages have to clear the forests on the path of the future pipeline, level the path by cutting the hills and filling the earth with hand tools and to build temporary bridges to cross creeks, says a villager from the region who was forced to participate in construction.

The villages located on the path of the Pipeline have been ordered to relocate by the military personals by the end of this raining season. Sein Krone, Late Ma Roa and Paut Taw will have to be relocated. There will be no compensation or any assistance for the relocation, says a villager.

Battalions of the Burmese army, the light infantry battalions (374), (375) and (376) involved in forcing the villagers to work on the construction of the pipeline are based in the Kyauk Taw Township.

It was learned that the forced labor is conducted under the direction of the Commander of the Western Command of the Burmese junta, and foreign tourists are not allowed to come near the area.

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