Saturday, June 22, 2024

Army Prosecutes 47 Farmers In Kholam

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The Burma Army prosecuted 47 farmers in southern Shan State after farmers would not agree to sign a document stating that the Tatmadaw owns the land they have been farming for decades.

Tatmadaw Infantry Battalion-66 (IB-66), based in Namsang Township, confiscated 1353.33 acres of farmlands from 64 farmers.

Infantry Battalion-66 (IB-66), based in Kholam Sub-township, prosecuted the farmers in Namsang Township Court.

Rosan, a farmer whose land was seized, told SHAN they’ve been planting in their area for over 40 years. Last year, the Burma Army tried to force farmers to sign the document.

“They said we were trespassing on the army’s land,” Rosan says, explaining they’re still working on their farms. “We won’t be allowed to work on these farmlands when the army starts its project, so no-one will sign the document.”

During frequent meetings, the Tatmadaw has been pressuring farmers to comply with its demands, Rosan says. During the last meeting, after refusing to sign four times, the Burma Army charged them with trespassing under Article 447.

Soldiers have been trying to block farmers from working in their fields.

A farmer, who spoke to SHAN on condition of anonymity, says they will acquire a lawyer to fight the trespassing charges against them in court.

At press time, SHAN was unable to obtain a comment from the IB-66, under the Burma Army’s Central-East Military Command in Kholam or from the Kholam Sub-Township General Administration Development Officer about the charges against the farmers.

At this time, Shan civil society organizations say there are land disputes between the Burma Army and farmers occurring in both southern and northern Shan State.

The Burma army charged 70 farmers with trespassing in Hsihseng Township, located in southern Shan State.

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