By San Phyo Htun for Kantarawaddy Times. September 2014.
Translated and edited by SDC students, staff and volunteers.
In Solyaku village, Hpruso township, the Burmese Army’s 531st light infantry battalion have taken villager’s land. If the government cannot solve this problem, the villagers will demonstrate said Solyaku villager, Khu Htu Reh.
“We are always looking at this situation. What will they say to us? How will they respond to our demands? What measures will they take? Finally, if they do not respond to us or do not take any measures, we will demonstrate.”
Solyaku village is surrounded by mountains. There are only a few areas on the eastern side for growing plants. The local people rely on growing plants and using this land for agriculture. This land has now been confiscated by the military, so the local villagers do not have land to use for agriculture anymore.
This issue has already been submitted to the officials according to Oo Sue Reh, a villager from Solyaku. He said “If there isn’t any measure taken by them, we just need to demonstrate. We told the chief that if they don’t accept our demands, we will demonstrate. We cannot do anything else. At last, by doing this the officials will see our response“
“We have already submitted to the government officials that if they don’t take any measures to return the land of Solyaku village during the next 15 days, we will go beyond the local government. We will request step by step from the district government all the way up to the state government” said Khu Htu Reh.
Khu Htu Reh continued “This issue has already been submitted to the state government to take measures because the army have come and are digging a trench around the land for protection. As they dig this trench, it feels like they are digging a hole in our hearts. Due to this, I have requested to the state government.”
Furthermore, because of this situation, in the confiscated fields and farmland, on the 27th May, about 300 farmers gathered as a demonstration and attempted to plough and grow plants on the confiscated land.
After this demonstration in Solyaku village, four Solyaku villagers were arrested, prosecuted and have been sent to court. Another 190 villagers were questioned by the police.