November 21, 2017

Threats to NV card applicants by terrorists: Rakhine villagers

A girl from Zedipyin Village in Maungtaw Township has her photo taken as she applies for a National Verification Card, the first step towards citizenship in Rakhine State. Photo: phoe htaung
A girl from Zedipyin Village in Maungtaw Township has her photo taken as she applies for a National Verification Card, the first step towards citizenship in Rakhine State. Photo: phoe htaung

As the government steps up efforts at issuing the National Verification Card, the first step in the process towards citizenship, villagers in conflict areas in northern Rakhine said they have been threatened by terrorists who do not want them to apply for the card.
“They have seriously threatened villagers not to get the NVC. They have made death threats to villagers. These threats prompt villagers here not to apply for the card. The reason is the NVC cards can help distinguish between local people and immigrants. They don’t want that,” said U Aung Min, Director of the Rakhine State Immigration and Population Department, who was at Zedipyin Village in Shwezar Village-tract supervising his mobile team tasked with issuing NV cards.
A man from Shwezar (West) Village has been charged for threatening the villagers not to apply for the card, U Aung Min said.
The mobile teams of the Rakhine State Immigration and Population Department have made numerous field trips to villages in Maungtaw explaining to villagers the merits of having an NV card.
Meanwhile, authorities announced they will take action against anyone who threatens villagers under the Counter-Terrorism Law.
“I got the NV card 10 days ago because now I can travel to other areas without restrictions by holding an NV card,” said Haris Sarmud from Shwezar (North) Village. All four of his family members also recently received NV cards.
The work of verifying identification and issuing NV Cards is a priority for the government because it was one of the main suggestions made by an independent committee to spur on the development of Rakhine State.
This work was already being conducted in recent months but was delayed due to the ARSA extremist terrorits attack of 25 August. The work was restarted in Maungtaw Township, Shwezar village tract on 12 October.—Ye Khaung Nyunt and Nay Lin

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