PREVENTING FROM RUNNING SELF-SUPPORT PRIVATE SCHOOL
In remote areas of Chin State, especially along the border with India and Bangladesh, many villages do not have a government school. Parents in these remote villages are usually poor and cannot afford sending their children to another bigger village or a town school. Therefore, the villagers themselves, sometimes with the help of the church, have set up their own schools. The teachers’ salaries and school running costs are shared among the village community, and the children can get education with very little expenses.
In order to keep complete control of the education system in the villages, the military junta have now sent orders throughout Chin State for any school non-affiliated with the government to close down. This directive is part of the SPDC anti-opposition tactic, to prevent any contact between villagers and opposition. Similar orders have also been issued in Mon State, and probably other regions of Burma as well.
By prohibiting self-supported schools to run, in many villages, children have no other alternative for education, and have to abandon their studies. Parents are worried that the young people will be roaming around the streets, wasting their lives.
Township Education Office
Letter no. seik-1/(simaan)/,4044/Pa Wa Da
date: 1998 June 23
Basic Higher/Middle/Primary Schools
Subject : To recognize only government affiliated schools
Reference: Chin State and Townships School Inspectors Decision
With reference to Chin State School Inspector’s directions, I hereby inform you that, from the beginning of the 1998-99 School Year, any self-supported private Primary/Middle/High School will not be allowed to stay open. Only Government affiliated schools are recognized.
If we find out any school running secretly after this guidance has been released, severe action will be taken against the Principal.
Thantlang Township Education Office
1. State Education Office, Haka, Chin State
2. Chairman, Township Peace and Development Council(TPDC), Thantlang
3. Chairman, Village Peace and Development Council (VPDC)
4. Interdepartmental circular letter
60 TIMES A PORTER FOR THE BURMESE ARMY IN 1998
Mangte (name changed),a Chin villager from Saek village, Falam township of Chin State, had served as porter for 60 times in 1998. Other villagers also served as army porter as he did. He said: “Most of the time we had to carry chicken, pork, foods and house-wares that the army had looted from the villagers.” Interview with a Burmese army defector
Name : Zonunpuia
Nationality : Chin
Religion : Christian
Age : 17
From : Lungpi village, Falam township, Chin State
I was forced to join the Burmese army in 1994. [Zonunpuia was still a child when he was forcibly recruited]. When I was tending the cattle near my village with my friends, Burmese soldiers came to us and try to convince us to join the army.
Although we refused, they arrested us and sent us to Falam. Then, we were sent to Kalaymyo, Sagaing Division. Two days later, we were sent to Monywa where we spent two months. After two months in Monywa, we were sent to Mandalay, and a week later back to Kalaymyo. There the army gave us basic military training for four months at Sakhankyi military training fields. As soon as the training is finished I was posted at a company post in Falam of Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 268 based in Kalaymyo.
There are many kinds of discrimination among the soldiers. So, most of the soldiers were morally very frustrated. Our salary is very low and always cut for any reason. It is hard to say how much my real salary is. It happened not only to the private soldiers but also to the Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO). That’s why we all are waiting for a good chance to run away from the army. The reason why I defected from the Burmese army is that I was forcibly recruited into the army and I don’t want to fight with my own brethren. For a long time I was waiting for a good opportunity to run away. When I was sick, I was hospitalized in Falam Civil Hospital and when I recovered, I fled away on my way to report to the regiment in March 1997. Lt. Col. Myint Thwe was LIB 268 commander while I fled.
CHRO was informed that Lieutenant Tin Hlaing Aung, Company Commander of LIB 383 battalion based in Mawleik, had committed suicide.
His Company is directly controlled by Tactical Commander in Haka. He shot himself dead at 8:00 AM on 22 September 1998 in Tlangrua village, Thantlang township. While he was sitting in the verandah of the village headman’s house, he started cursing his superiors, then he entered into the house and shot himself.
According to the villagers, he left a note of dissatisfaction about his superiors. No soldier could touch the dead body according to the Tactical commander’s order. A company of LIB 226 from Haka arrived at Tlangrua on September 23 and they arrested all of Tin Hlaing Aung’s soldiers. Dr. Hmuh Thang, a Doctor and MP ( elected in 1990 ), came along with LIB 226, and was asked to carry out a post-mortem. The troops took Tin Hlaing Aung’s dead body and his soldiers to Haka. Later Tin Hlaing Aung’s body was brought to Falam to establish a second post-mortem with a specialist. All the arrested soldiers were kept in the Detention Center.
RICE STORAGE FOR WHOM?
Burmese army Light Infantry Battalion 274 is based in Mindat town, Chin State. Company No 3 of LIB 274 led by Lieutenant Han Zaw Aung is posted in Lailenpi village, Matupi township, Chin State.
The platoon came to Pintia village of Matupi township in the first week of October 1998 and inquired about 200 tins of rice stored in the village. They interrogated all the village headmen of nearby villages. First, they interrogated the headman of Pintia village with his hands and legs being tied and hung upside down. He was beaten several times by the soldiers. When they stopped the interrogation, he couldn’t even walk by himself. He was treated by the villagers in his house. Likewise, the village headman of Sabawngpi was also tortured and interrogated. When he could not bear the pain anymore, he was forced to confess that the rice that they had stored were to be sent to the Indian border. As soon as he confessed, the soldiers forced Pintia and Sabawngpi villagers to carry and transport this rice to Lailenpi army camp. The headmen of Tangku, Rekhin, Sumsen, Tisi and Aru villages were also interrogated and tortured by the soldiers while an inquiry was made to find out where the rice came from and why the villagers had stored it. These village headmen were tortured, because the army suspected them to provide food to insurgents.
VILLAGES ELDERS FORCED TO DRINK LIQUOR
Recently, the Burmese army Battalion 266 from Lungler village, Thantlang township, Chin State had thrown a party with food and drinks. The village elders from Dawn, Ralpel, Saikah, Ruabuk, Ruakhua, Zaangtlang and Lungding were compelled to attend the party.
Most of the villages elders do not drink alcohol. Even though they refused, they were forced to drink liquor. When the village headman of Ralpel continued to refuse, the soldiers poured alcohol all over his body.
While the villages’ elders were forcibly drinking, the soldiers took photograph and recorded it. Soon after, the villagers were forced to buy alcohol 5 to 10 bottles every month from the army. The actual price of alcohol is Kyat 250/- but the army charged Kyat 500/- to 1,000/- per bottles.
The commander of Lungler army post accused and threatened the villagers: “I know you consume alcohol, but when the Army offer it to you, you refuse. I don’t understand your behavior! What I know is that you have to pay the price as we fixed.”
A VILLAGER BEATEN IN PALETWA TOWNSHIP
The following incident occurred in Kantlang village, Paletwa township. On 30 July 1998, 2nd Lieutenant Ri Ding, from LIB 374, No.2 company, commander of Kantlang army post, ordered Aa Huat, 18-year old Chin farmer to buy alcoholic drink from Turahaing village, which is a day’s walk from Kantlang village. Aa Huat could not find any alcohol drink and came back empty-handed. As a result, 2nd Lieutenant Ri Ding beat him at the army post with 3 feet long and 3 inches thick bamboo stick on his head, arms, his backbone and all over places of his body until he lost consciousness. He was being treated at home because his family could not afford to take him to hospital.
EXTORTING FOR SELLING CATTLES
In Temahchawng village, which is 2-hours walk away from Paletwa, a 25-year old farmer, named Aung Kyaw, from Paletwa, was imposed a fine of 10,000 Kyats by Corporal Thein Shwe and Private Kyi Thein from Riot Police Department and 10 of his cows being confiscated. He was accused of attempting to sell his cattle in Mizoram, India.
SHOT ON SIGHT
This incident was occurred on 15 July of 1998. Kyaw Naing, 23 years old, a Chin Christian man had one child and was peacefully living in Kuanchawngwah village of Paletwa township. On 15 July 1998, Kyaw Naing and his friend were coming back from hunting. Kyaw Naing was carrying a monkey on his shoulder, as well as a gun slung over the shoulder. They were at a place about 5-hours walk away from Kaletchawng village when Burmese soldiers saw them. These soldiers fired at them without warning, and Kyaw Naing was shot dead on the spot. His friend luckily escaped unharmed.
FORCED RALLY: USDA IN HAKA
The State Peace and Development Council(SPDC), the Burmese military junta, was organizing the Chin people to attend a USDA rally against the National League for Democracy party’s proposal to convene parliament.
In September 1998, the SPDC forced people from all over Chin State to come to Haka, the capital city of Chin State, to participate in the rally, to oppose the NLD’s party proposal to convene parliament. They forcibly brought people from Matupi township to Haka by truck. On the way, there was an accident. Five people died on the spot and 14 were seriously injured. Those who got injured were treated in Haka civil hospital.
RAPE OF A WOMEN PORTER
A platoon of Burmese army led by Sergeant Aung Shwe, from (LIB) 303 based in Mawleik, Sagaing Division, came to Congthia village, Thantlang township on September 10, 1998. They collected 6 villagers as porters by force. On their way to the next village, the Sergeant ordered his troops and 5 porters to go ahead but he ordered Miss Nunau (name change) to stay behind with him. Then, the sergeant raped her. She reported this to the village elders.
KILLED BY LAND MINES
Since 1997, many land-mines have been planted along the Indo-Burma border and Bangla-Burma border, especially on most of the mountain ranges and between villages. Chin villagers are now facing threat of land-mines. They were afraid and dared not go for hunting, fishing or tending their cattle as usual. The presence of land-mines not only causes death and injuries, but also severely affects the food security of the villagers.
In the first week of September 1998, Salai Ram Hre, 25 years old from Haka’s Farhual block was killed by a land-mine planted by Burmese army at Lahva stream near the border of India on his way to Mizoram State of India. The villagers waited for a few days to pick up his dead body because they were afraid that there could be other land-mines.
The same incident occurred in October 20, 1998 at Ralpel village, Thantlang township, Chin State. Pu Hmar, aged 60, was killed on the spot by land-mine planted by Burmese army while he was going to his farm located between Ralpel and Thingsai village.