Rakhine Political Party Is in a Thin Line for Participating in 2020 National Election in Myanmar

Locations of villages and town where ANP members are arrested in Tongue township 

AN. Sittway. June 11, 2020
Myanmar’s election commission announced last week it will proceed national election on the schedule that is in November, but it did not provide a specific date. 

However, political leaders and activists are concerned the status of Arakan National Party (ANP) in the upcoming election after half dozen of its members are arrested and charged with terrorist laws. 

Myanmar military and police have arrested 6 members of ANP in Toungup township, strong hold of National League for Democracy (NLD), since April, and some are charged with terrorist laws. 

They were arrested at homes by the police and military and accused to having connection with Arakan Army. 

The arrested ANP members are (1) U Way Thung, vice chairman of Toungup township, (2) U Myo Lwin, chairman of Ma Ei, (3) U Pyone Cho, chairman of Sar Pyin, (4) U Than Naing, member of Sar Pyin village, (5) U Kyaw Aung, vice secretary of Chet Hpauk, and (6) Maung Myo, member of Chet Hpauk village.

Rakhine based media DMG news reported U Way Thung and U Pyone Cho are charged with counter terrorist laws 50 (A) and 52 (A) separately. But family and the party headquarter do not know where they have been detained and get no contact at all. Some say they are taken to Yangon for further interrogation.

Party Spokesperson Daw Aye Nu Sein is concerned more active members of her party in Toungup will be arrested before the election. 

The election commission has power either to ban the party from the election or to outlaw it if its members are found guilty verdicts of terrorist charges. 

Arakan Army was declared as terrorist organization by the government in March. Both military and government spokespersons clearly stated liability for those who were having connection with or supporting the organization could be charged with terrorist laws.

One of the ANP members in hiding, who keeps his name unpublished for his security, told our news he thinks NLD is systematically cracking down ANP.

“Both police and military are working for the NLD government in Toungup. Whenever the NLD members report fail news and accuse our party members for supporting AA, they (police and military) come to our homes and arrest us immediately without proper investigations. That is what happening in Toungup township now,” he said. 

At the present movements, most ANP members stay out of the villages because they are fear the police will come and arrest them. 

These harassments and intimidations over the ANP members are somehow concerned among the Rakhine people. They think both NLD government and the military are attempting to crackdown ANP in different ways before the election.

The military assumes cracking down on ANP is beneficial and helping the army to win the war against AA. On the other hand, NLD government believes annihilating ANP is a permanent control of political power over the Rakhine people. 

The recent International Crisis Group (ICG) report has warned Myanmar government sticking on violent resorting against AA is certainly colluding with repatriation process of Rohingya refugees and further complication. The group also encourages the government to open electoral politics to address Rakhine peoples’ grievances of greater rights and self-management. 

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